Pinky and the Brain

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Pinky and the Brain TV Poster Image
Clever toon is great fun for both kids and adults.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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 & Representations

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
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAshley R. December 28, 2020
surprisingly i never watched this as a kid but i recently checked it out its really great i regret not being into it as a kid
Adult Written byGordonShumway1986 June 10, 2019

A legendary show.

Pinky and the Brain is a spin-off of Animaniacs. It is of the rare examples where a spin-off show is just as good (and even a little better) than its original s... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byanonymous2022 December 17, 2020

Love this show

This is a very good show and I am a huge fan!
Teen, 13 years old Written byapollo. February 15, 2014

Good show

This is a good show but when I was a kid I watched it and the violence kinda scared me, if your child can take cartoon violence then this would be a good classi... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

Themes & Topics

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