Pinky And The Brain (1995-1996 Primetime)
Type: Spin Off
Okay okay okay! I have stated elsewhere my wish to steer clear of cartoon crossovers. This is because of shows like the Laugh Olympics and Yogi's Space Race which have tons of characters from all sorts of different cartoons all on the same show - it makes keeping track of impossible and also gets just to absurd even for me. But I will make exceptions and one of those is if at least one of the cartoons involved aired regularly in prime time. Pinky And The Brain qualifies under this rule.
Animaniacs is not a prime time toon. It was a Warners Brothers cartoon follow up to the successful Tiny Toon Adventures which had featured new child sized characters who resembled the classic Warner Brother's cartoon characters. Instead of Bugs Bunny you had Babs and Buster Bunny (no relation), instead of Daffy Duck, you had the equally troublesome Plucky Duck... etc, etc. All the kids attended the Acme Looniversity where they studied to be cartoon stars themselves.
Animaniacs introduced three entirely new characters in the form of Wacko, Yacko and Dot Warner: the Warner Brothers and the Warner Sister! Get it? They were three black and white characters who were supposedly created in the early days of the Warner Brother's cartoons and who were just too crazy to deal with. So they had been locked away in the Warner Studio water tower (an actual landmark on the WB lot). They were accidentally released in the 1990's and, whammo! Animaniacs!
Wacko, Yacko and Dot hosted the show and had their own cartoon segments where they might end up at any point in the world or time bothering everyone from Michelangelo to the devil! But the show also had a number of other cartoons that it ran such as Goodfeathers, a parody of mob movies like Goodfellas featuring pigeons as the main characters. And there was Chicken Boo, a giant chicken who was always against all logic being mistaken for a police officer, a politician... you name it.
Another of the regularly appearing cartoons was Pinky And The Brain. Pinky and Brain were two lab mice who had been subjected to various scientific experiments. The result was that Pinky was a brain damaged freak with a British accent who often finished his sentences with a loud "Snarf!" noise. His friend Brain was a super intelligent genius and sounded more than a bit like Orson Wells. Each episode found Brain and Pinky, based in their lab cage, trying to take over the world. Each time, of course, Brain's plan would fail. Pinky would then ask Brain what they would do next and Brain would always respond, "The same thing we do every week Pinky: try to take over the world!"
Pinky And The Brain became standout favorites on the show. Tiny Toons had started on the Fox network but had moved when Warner Brothers started their own network, The WB. Animaniacs was a WB show as well. Being a new network, The WB was obviously hungry for shows that would attract viewers. Seeing the following Pinky and The Brain was gathering not just with kids but with adults as well airing afternoons and Saturday mornings, The WB decided to try and get some prime time ratings with them. They spun Pinky And The Brain off onto their own show where all the stories could center on them. They put it on their kids cartoon schedule but they also scheduled it to air once a week in the early prime time hours. It was the perfect show for this move: a cartoon kids liked with enough smart and subtle humor to get parents and other adults to watch as well. It made for a nice temporary ratings helper. Eventually Pinky And The Brain failed to rule prime time though and they were dropped although still airing regularly as part of the Kids WB daytime lineup.
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