Monday, September 30, 2013

RR Pinky and the Brain

One is a genius, the other's insane...

Name: Pinky and the Brain: Volume 1
Created by Tom Ruegger
Original run 1995-96
Genre Cartoon comedy

"What shall we do tonight Brain?"

"The same thing we do every night Pinky... try to take over the world."

Here's another classic Steven Spielberg-produced cartoon from the mind of Tom Ruegger.

Only this didn't start from an offshoot of the Looney Tunes. Instead it was a spin off another early 1990s popular cartoon series, Animaniacs!

Pinky and the Brain was originally a segment from Animaniacs, appearing first in 1993 on that show.

Finally, due to the immense success of these shorts, Pinky and the Brain were given their own show that ran from 1995 to 1998.

The show was about "laboratory mice" whose "genes have been spliced".

Now turned into highly intelligent white lab mice, they escape their cage from Acme Labs every night... and try to take over the world!

Both superior than your average mouse, while Pinky appears to be pretty simple minded, the other called Brain is actually a full-on megalomaniac with a huge IQ to could rival Einstein!

They always embark on outlandish plots to conquer the world, imagined by Brain and most of the time sabotaged with or without the help of his partner in crime.

The show used the same rough basic plot in almost every single episode, but it was the way the writers were able to play in this sandbox that brought all the fun!

Simply put, besides getting out of their cage and ending back right where they started, everything goes on Pinky and the Brain!

Through far fetched impractical plans for world domination, usually said plan itself requiring the acquisition of some item or resource before it was put into motion, where the plan would usually fail before its implementation, Pinky and the Brain would often come close to taking over the planet... and ruin their chances due to some silly goof made earlier!

With no other guest-stars unlike Animaniacs, typical episodes could go from 20 minutes-long adventures to smaller animated shorts and even some song segments here and there (to a lesser extend than what composed Animaniacs).

And let me say, it was a very intelligent cartoon!

Created by the exact same folks and writers responsible for Animaniacs and Freakazoid, the writers had a lot of fun making this show, and it shows!

The humor was great, dry comedy and plenty use of classic toon slapstick!

Great writing not just meant for kids, but also a lot of adult themes and obscure pop culture references and even parodies that would amuse adult parents and children alike!

This volume 1 on DVD (pictured above) covers the first 22 episodes, roughly the first two seasons more or less.

These initial stories (which weren't the creative team's first attempts, since the characters were span of Animaniacs) brought Pinky and the Brain to the depths of the Ocean aboard the Titanic, to an encounter with a Godzilla lookalike, taking over a radio show similar to The Shadow, an encounter with aliens, making a papier mâché copy of Planet Earth, exploring Area 5.1, directing the ultimate emotional movie, discovering the secrets of an Egyptian Pyramid, a Robin Hood parody, and finally even taking care of a super baby rocketed to Earth from a doomed planet*!

There's always a lot going on "Before each night is done"!

"Narf!" "Poit!"

Like I said, there's a lot of smarting on the show. The satire is always hilarious and the obscure references such as Godzilla's Raymond Burr from the US Americanization of "Gojira" commenting the action on that parody episodes.

The only status quo concerns Pinky and the Brain, for the rest anything can happen on this cartoon! Sometimes they will be set in different time periods from the 1950s in Japan to a radio show in the 1930s.

You can never expect what crazy scheme Brain will come up next, such as using his robotic human suit to get.. insurance money! The problems always appear to come from Pinky? Brain will turn his acolyte into a smarter lab rat! But now he's even too smart leaving Brain to deduce he needs to balance things back to normal by dumbing himself down... though Pinky got the same idea and...

The show featured the voices of Maurice LaMarche as The Brain and Rob Paulsen as Pinky in what I like to consider their definitive roles! Maurice LaMarche was particularly brilliant on the show, channeling his best Orson Welles impression for Brain.

Pinky and the Brain also featured a fantastic voice cast including Tress MacNeille, Jess Harnell, Frank Welker, Jeff Bennett as well as Paul Rugg, Billy West and many more! Even legends such as Mark Hamill and James Belushi performed some guest appearances on the show!

And let's not forget the great music, the score was brilliantly composed by Richard Stone. With full orchestrated pieces for the show and references to classical music in great Looney Tunes tradition.

It's no wonder the cartoon was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award!

Overall, it is simply a must watch, and highly recommended timeless classic everybody should own in his film library!

The show was also declined in its own comic books through DC Comics, its own video games and Pinky and the Brain even appeared on several Animaniacs games.

The entire series was released on 3 DVD boxsets, not separated per seasons but by sets of 22 episodes.

Pinky and the Brain lasted about 65 episodes until it was stopped and retooled into a more sitcom approach by "the powers that by" into Steven Spielberg Presents Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain. A sort of spin-off itself, merging Pinky and the Brain with Tiny Toons' Elmyra. Nevertheless, fans and production crew weren't happy with the change of the formula. That show aired for 13 additional episodes from 1998 to 1999 and hasn't seen home release since then.

Anyways, the original show is still a must,

I give it:
3 / 3 Felixes!

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