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The Brain(pop culture)
The Brain is a genetically enhanced super-genius who is unrelentingly fixated upon global domination. He is also a laboratory mouse. Warner Bros. animated stars Pinky and the Brain are white mice living in a research facility called Acme Labs (an homage to the brand name from the Road Runner cartoons). With his bulbous head and calculated demeanor, the egocentric, Orson Welles–inspired Brain (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) suffers from delusions of grandeur, always thinking outside of the “box” (in his case, a cage) and concocting elaborate schemes to control the world, abetted by his idiot sidekick Pinky (Rob Paulsen). Hypnosis through crab meat (the episode “Das Mouse”) and dentures (“TV or Not TV”), relocating the masses to his duplicate “Chia Earth” (“It's Only a Paper World”), and becoming a tap dancer to spread subliminal Morse-code mind control (“Mice Don't Dance”) are among the Brain's ridiculous efforts to trick, coerce, or sway the populace into obedience. His plots are derailed either by a flaw in his master plan, some unexpected occurrence, or the bumbling interference of Pinky. The Brain's arch-enemy is his old colleague Snowball, now his competitor for world conquest. Despite his supervillain-esque quest to control the world, the Brain is a sympathetic and likeable protagonist thanks to his tenacity and his semialtruistic belief, albeit mistaken, that the world will benefit from his leadership. Unshaken from his failures, the Brain formulaically ends each episode by telling Pinky that “tomorrow night” they would do “the same thing we do every night—try to take over the world!” Pinky and the Brain originated in 1993 as a rotating feature on Animaniacs (1993–1998) before spinning off into its own 1995–1998 series, which ran 65 episodes including a stint in primetime, and as a short-lived continuation, Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain (1998–1999). In 1999 it received an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Special Class–Animated Program.” DC Comics published 27 issues of Pinky and the Brain and one Christmas special between 1996 and 1998, and limited merchandising was produced, including miniature toys available with Wendy's kids' meals. A Pinky and the Brain DVD collection was released in 2005, keeping the Brain's global “threat” forever alive among fans.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.