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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pinky And The Brain

This is going to sound like it may be a bizarre question, but have you, at any point in your life, had the dream of world domination?

I know it sounds crazy, but I’m sure at some point, most of us have wondered what it would be like to be in complete control of everything in the world. 

So, what kind of leader do you think that you would be?  Would you be a humanitarian leader who makes sure that nobody in the world goes hungry, and that every single person in the world has a safe and happy life?  Or would you be a global dictator, making all seven billion people on the planet cater to your every whim?

To be absolutely honest, I think I would make a terrible world leader.  Not because I would be needlessly cruel, because I wouldn’t be, but because I would be so desperate for compromise between two arguing parties that nothing would get accomplished.

In short, I’d be the “stalemate” leader.

But, there’s a difference between saying that you want to rule the world, and actually doing just that.  Some have said that they wanted to rule the world in jest, while other, more dangerous people have tried to accomplish this goal through terrorist activities and organizations. 

And, then there’s the curious case of the two cartoon characters that are going to be featured in today’s blog.  These two characters are small in stature, and some might even say that these two are nothing but rodents.  To think that this duo’s main ambition was to take over the world was laughable, especially when you consider that they make their home inside of a cage in the interior of a science laboratory.

However, these two weren’t going to let that stop them.  They were determined, they were crafty, and they never gave up hope in their quest for world domination.  I mean, yes, sure, in every episode, they actually failed in their quest, but their bond continued to stay strong with each failure.

They’re Pinky, they’re Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, NARF!

Yes, we’re going to take a look back at Pinky and the Brain, a cartoon that defined a generation of kids during the 1990s...and a cartoon that this blogger loved watching very much.

And Pinky and the Brain ended up getting their very own cartoon series on the now defunct WB network from 1995 to 1998.  But, prior to that, these two lab mice made guest appearances on another Warner Brothers creation.

Remember the cartoon series “Animaniacs”?  The show debuted on the FOX network in September 1993, and was created by Steven Spielberg and Tom Ruegger, the duo responsible for the hit smash “Tiny Toon Adventures” just three years earlier.

Animaniacs featured the escapades of the Warner Brothers, Yakko and Wakko, and Dot, the Warner Sister.  The story goes that the three Warner siblings were created in the 1930s, a time period where cartoons such as Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop were all the rage.  They were sealed inside the water tower on the grounds of the Warner studios, and they remained there for sixty years until they broke free.  Most of the stories that the Warner siblings starred in involved their escapades hanging around the studio staff, including Dr. Scratchansniff, Ralph, the security guard, and...

...yes, that’s it.

But, of course, part of the charm that was Animaniacs were the secondary characters of the show.  Slappy Squirrel, Buttons and Mindy, Chicken Boo, Katie Ka-Boom, and the Goodfeathers made thousands of children laugh throughout the show.

Oh, and Pinky and the Brain?  They first appeared on Animaniacs too.  Immediately, Pinky and the Brain became two of the most popular characters to appear on the show, and they proved so successful that they ended up getting their own show which debuted on September 9, 1995.

Part of the success behind Pinky and the Brain is to the credit of the voice actors who portrayed the two characters.  Both Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche are no strangers to the world of animation, as both men have well over one hundred voice credits between the two of them.  But there was something about Paulsen’s portrayal of Pinky and LaMarche’s portrayal of the Brain that made the show more fulfilling to watch. 

For the character of the Brain, LaMarche chose to make him sound a lot like Orson Welles.  The character of the Brain even had a bit of a resemblance to Welles.  In most of the episodes, the Brain is the mastermind behind the duo’s plan to take over the world.  Because both Pinky and the Brain were genetically modified lab mice, their genes were unlike those of any ordinary rodent.  In Brain’s case, he ended up with an oversized brain, which likely became a factor behind his quest to take over the world.

He certainly didn’t let being stuck in a cage stop him from meticulously planning his quest for world domination.  His tail actually worked as a skeleton key in which he could unlock his cage whenever he wanted.  And Brain’s plans were planned out intelligently and with much thought.  He really put a lot of effort into his various plans for world domination.  And, why wouldn’t he?  It was always his dream.

What was interesting was that despite the fact that Brain wanted nothing more than to have total control of the world, it wasn’t for evil reasons.  In fact, Brain felt that by taking over the world, he would use it as a message of goodwill to the planet.  He actually believed that it would be better for the world if he was in charge.  Many of Brain’s plans for achieving world domination had to do with the act of winning people’s hearts so that they would let their guard down, and let Brain take over as a sign of goodwill. 

Basically, Brain used pure manipulation to get what he wanted.

But, Brain’s desire to take over the world might have been linked to a traumatic childhood event.  In one episode, it was revealed that Brain once lived inside a tin can with his family.  However, Brain was taken by force by scientists, and the last thing Brain had seen before being taken away was a picture of the world on the side of the can.  So, it’s entirely possible that Brain associated his plan for world domination with wanting to reunite with his family.

It’s very deep if you look at it that way, don’t you think?

Of course, the show would be quite boring if Brain succeeded in his plans, and in every episode, his plans would fail.

Mostly due to the ineptitude of Pinky.

Pinky was, to put it lightly, the anti-Brain.  And, Rob Paulsen used a high-pitched Cockney accent for Pinky as a sharp contrast to the monotonous deep voiced Brain.

Pinky (named by Brain) is also a genetically modified lab mouse, but unlike Brain, his genes seemed to be affected more negatively.  He’s dim, he’s aloof, he says a lot of nonsensical words like narf, zort, and poit, he’s...well...he’s Pinky!

While Brain acts in a more melancholic manner and acts a bit stuck-up, Pinky is more open-minded, and very rarely gets in a bad mood.  And despite the fact that Brain often inflicts physical harm on Pinky by bopping him on the head, Pinky is determined to assist Brain in his quest to take over the world.

For Pinky, though, it didn’t matter to him how badly Brain treated him.  He loved Brain like a brother, and would have done anything for him.

That’s about all that I have to say about the cartoon itself, but just to close off this entry, here’s one final piece of trivia.

TRIVIA:  The characters of Pinky and the Brain were inspired by real life employees who worked on Tiny Toon Adventures, Tom Minton and Eddie Fitzgerald.  Fitzgerald was the one who inspired Pinky’s “Narf” comment, as he reportedly said it around the office all the time.  The Brain was designed after Minton, but was given the Orson Welles connection after LaMarche joined the voice cast.

“Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?"

“The same thing we do every night, Pinky...try to take over the world!!!”

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