Pinky and the Brain

Common Sense Media says

Clever toon is great fun for both kids and adults.





What parents need to know

Educational value

The show is intended to entertain rather than educate, but some episodes/storylines do rely on parodies of literature, politics, and culture.

Positive messages

The show revolves around elaborate plans for world domination, through whatever means necessary. That said, it's clear that Brain's schemes aren't intended to be admirable.

Positive role models

Brain is smart, educated, and ambitious, but he's not motivated by benevolence -- he wants to rule the world. Pinky is sweeter and definitely loyal, though not exactly the brightest bulb. Episodes often introduce a villain of some sort, but they're usually so absurd (a brain-eating alien, for example) and so easily outsmarted that kids aren't likely to be frightened by them.

Violence & scariness

Standard cartoon-style violence, including explosions, dramatic falls, collisions, and crashes -- but none of it results in lasting injury, and it's all laden with plenty of humor and absurdity to keep the mood light.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, as cartoon series go, Pinky and the Brain has plenty of substance to entertain both kids and adults. The show's physical humor and absurd characters (the main characters are mice bent on world domination) will appeal to grade-schoolers, and its clever, sophisticated parodies of literature, politics, and culture will be applauded by astute adults. There's some recurring fantasy violence of the over-the-top cartoon kind, but most kids won't be upset by the pratfalls and unlikely scenarios (long-distance falls, explosions, collisions) that never leave a lasting effect.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Genetic research at ACME labs home has given Brain (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) an impressive IQ (and an oversized cranium to match), which he uses to devise plans for world domination. Brain's happy-go-lucky but significantly less-intelligent sidekick, Pinky (Rob Paulsen), is always an energetic partner in his devious friend's lofty endeavors, but Pinky's contributions are typically limited to comedic pratfalls and frequent off-the-wall observations that grate on Brain's patience. Despite his carefully calculated planning, Brain's schemes always fall victim to his overly ambitious goals and his own unparalleled intelligence -- but regular failure does little to discourage his hunger for power. While Pinky carries on, blind to his buddy's growing frustration and glibly asking what they'll do the next night, Brain's reply sums up his single-minded goal: "The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world."

Is it any good?


Despite its relatively brief run, this emmy-winning cartoon series' outrageously funny cast of characters, superb writing, and clever use of parody gained it a devoted fan base of both kids and adults. PINKY AND THE BRAIN offers plenty of humor for the 7- to 10-year-old set, who will enjoy the show's physical comedy, as well as some of its subtle satirical tones and tongue-in-cheek writing style. But it's teens and adults who will fully appreciate the series for the gem that it is: a clever combination of character-based humor (Pinky and Brain are mousy versions of the quintessential odd couple), witty writing, and underlying parodies of everything from politics to classic literature to pop culture.

The show does contain a fair amount of cartoon violence (explosions, exaggerated collisions, that sort of thing), but it's all so rooted in fantasy and absurdity that there's not much chance that grade-schoolers will be upset by it. So if you're looking for a show you can enjoy with your kids, this is a great pick.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes some TV characters more frightening than others. Are any of this show's characters scary? How do their actions change your impression of them?

  • Do Brain's plans to "take over the world" ever seem really frightening or threatening? Why or why not? How does his physical appearance affect how you feel about his scheming ways?

  • What characters in other shows or movies have less-than-noble intentions but come across as likable anyway?

TV details

Cast:Maurice LaMarche, Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille
Network:Toon Disney
Genre:Kids' Animation
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD

This review of Pinky and the Brain was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old July 5, 2010
Just watch it !!!
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 14 years old Written byiluvKH April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Hilariously funny!

This show is the best!! I watched it when it was actually running and thought it was funny, but now I like it for a completely different reason. There is a lot of humour kids won't get, but it is funny anyway. My only caution is the occasional use of a busty woman, but nothing else. WATCH THE SHOW!!
Kid, 8 years old July 1, 2011

ok for kids of all ages

good show just a bit violent
What other families should know
Too much violence


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