Are you pondering what I’m pondering? No, it has nothing to do with monkeys and dental floss. We’re ranking every single one of Brain’s schemes—both from the Pinky and the Brain series and their shorts on Animaniacs—and thereby take over the internet! (Enh, we’ll figure that part out later.)
A version of this article originally appeared May 27th, 2016.
…with plans to melt the polar ice caps using the Hubble Space Telescope. The survivors will be forced to live in his legally owned property. This is Brain at his most wicked—planning to enslave humanity through a housing crisis after a cataclysmic disaster. Well done!
…to get a job, stage a workplace accident, and use the money from the injury claim to build an automated answering machine system to keep everyone on Earth distracted while he takes over the world. The best part of this one is the accident itself—Brain convinces his work that the break room’s non-dairy creamer turned him into a mouse.
…then cryogenically freeze themselves for 40 years. When they’re thawed out, their fans will have grown up into the new world leaders, and they will be worshiped. This is airtight. The existence of this article is evidence enough of their potential success. Attempted a second time on Elmyra.
…in an attempt to exploit the United States for billions in foreign aid so he can build a giant clothes dryer to enslave humanity with static electricity. A fictional island nation is pretty clever, but the giant clothes dryer would probably work a lot better in colder climates.
…with crabmeat and host a hypnotic Pancake Jamboree—and take over the world! Psychotropic crabs native to the ruins of one of the 20th Century’s greatest maritime disasters sure sounds like a four-issue story arc of Peter Milligan’s Shade, The Changing Man. But, no! It was the very first episode of Pinky and the Brain. I love the idea, but fear Brain—had his plans not been so dramatically derailed by Pinky and the CIA—would wind up with a severely diluted compound of crab extract before exhausting the shipwreck’s population of spider crabs.
…back from vacation, causing all labor leaders to bow before him. They will help him construct a machine to creature miniature geysers able to life people inches off the ground, immobilizing them. Crushingly, this is only a proposed plan in a Pinky-centric episode.
…containing a hypnophonetic sentence so long and confusing, the reader will be forced to re-read it endlessly out loud. The frequencies of those sounds will hypnotize all around them. Another proposed idea from the same Pinky-centric episode.
…and pose as mummies, then demand fealty when they’re discovered by archeologists. Love it.
…to his fireside chat of propaganda, persuading humanity to allow him to become Earth’s ruler.
…after writing a letter to the editor about his disappointment in the recent installment of Family Circus. While in office, Brain uses access to military satellite uplinks to jam every radio station with Kenny G, Yanni ,and “the soulful stirrings” of John Tesh, softening the public’s cerebral cortexes, rendering them his slaves. Sadly, Brain’s plan was exposed by his own “Deep Throat,” Bill Keane, author of Family Circus (but disguised as Robert Shaw...).
…full of billions of tiny, self-adhesive mirrors, converting it into a giant disco ball. He will seize the planet while everyone is busy dancing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen. Brain’s plans to raise money for the rocket through the abstract art circuit are thwarted when Pinky is revealed to be the better artist. His new plan: to fake Pinky’s death and sell his paintings posthumously at inflated prices. This fails, too, when Pinky resurfaces at his own memorial luncheon.
…and lures the planet’s entire population to it with the promise of free t-shirts. Unfortunately, a meteor destroys the real Earth and Pinky and the Brain are forced to live on the duplicate. It worked, though.
…to convince the population he is actually the reincarnated soul of Abraham Lincoln. This premise puts forth a lot of interesting questions: What if Abe Lincoln came back to life? Both parties would probably feel compelled to nominate him, even though they (probably) wouldn’t want to. I think the courts would interpret his death as a valid reason he could no longer hold office, though. Would he be eligible for social security?
…forcing them to ride bicycles and cripple the petroleum industry, bringing the world to its knees. Doable.
…and is given a large section of Pittsburgh as protected area. He uses the city’s steel mills to build a series of 3D “magic eye” billboards with no secret message of any kind behind them, just to confuse people and keep them occupied while he takes over the world.
...including “the undiluted machismo of John Wayne, the dynamic sensuality of Valentino, the sensitivity of actors’ actor Tony Randall” to create Pinky Suavo, a charismatic celebrity nobody can resist.
…to convince the public unseen forces are deliberately preventing him from seizing power.
…and uses the one he sees most fit for world domination.
…that causes a gravitational flux and triggers an inner ear imbalance, rendering mankind susceptible to the power of suggestion for 15 seconds. Well if it works, sure!
…to deplete hydrogen and promote gravitational collapse, producing a magnetic charge from the center of the Earth so powerful that every person with change in their pockets will be magnetically drawn to the ground. This never happens, sadly, and the episode ends up being about Brain trying to raise money by winning a game show.
…and make movies telling stories of great courage and heroism. Since people cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, they shall be embraced as great leaders. Hey, it worked for Reagan.
….and has them make pencil sharpeners with implanted listening devices, allowing him to eavesdrop on world leaders.
…causing planetary obesity and upsetting the body conscious.
…trapping their wearers inside them. The episode is set in 1946, but it works here and now, too!
…rendering them unable to reach for their wallets, thus crippling the economy.
…to move discarded satellites into position and spell “Brain is your ruler.”
…then sets him loose on a major city, and then offer to stop his rampage in return for world domination.
Brain’s plan is foiled when the real Godzilla shows up to battle Pinky. At the end of the episode, the ray accidentally causes the rest of the world to grow in response, leaving Pinky & the Brain proportionate dwarves on a planet of giants.
…a secret cabal of puppet masters and clandestine world leaders, then tries to usurp them.
…to control the minds of his listeners with a special voice modulator. These days, he’d need to start one of those prestige true crime podcasts to even make a dent.
… by one-millionth of a percent, causing a turn in weather patterns and resulting in one less day of rain everywhere in the world except Los Angeles. This will cause a coffee bean shortage and force everyone in the world to switch to tea. He will then destroy every tea bag in the world, except his own, and rise to prominence as the owner of the world’s only teabag.
…to take his place as the world’s most bankable director.
…to make a killing on the lecture circuit.
…while solidifying them in a lava-like substance.
…so mice become the dominant species. Fairly solid.
…and serves food laced with an intelligence-enhancing drug, causing people to understand why he should naturally become the leader of the world.
…to record subliminal messages in his songs, making his fans unconditionally loyal. His recording name is Bubba Bo Bob Brain, which is pretty damning.
…to terrorize humanity into submission. He tries this again with living meat on Elmyra. I think it’s a good idea.
…to give himself ultra-enhanced night vision, then rule in the darkness of a global power outage. We would have liked to see this play out, but Brain cancels the plan when it’s discovered the test mice are actually his genetic parents.
…to trick invading aliens into believing that he is, in fact, the sovereign ruler of the Earth. It’s basically The Baron of Arizona on a global scale with a lot less document forgery and aliens. Brain’s plan relied on too many assumptions about the aliens themselves and ends with him getting abducted, so…
…and would let its fumes spread across the nation’s capitals, driving government officials into the streets. Pinky and the Brain will then swoop in and seize power. The bomb was composed of weed killer, manure, and Zoysia grass so this could actually work, maybe!
…with a “Who Is Your Perfect World Leader?” quiz. “Brain” is the answer to every question. Genius. There isn’t a soul reading this that doesn’t know their official Hogwarts house placement results.
…on a discreet area of the Earth, claiming it forever.
…brainwashing the audience with nostalgic sentiment.
…and becomes a world-famous insult comic. Stand-up comedians are today’s rock stars; just imagine the platform the AV Club would have given him!
…for 24 hours, leaving Brain enough time to try to take over the world. The 1960s Batman movie did this way better.
…into his own brand of “Cappy Brain’s Frozen Fish Sticks”
…by building a device that brings inanimate objects to life, including the moon.
…with the addendum “repeat endlessly,” lathering mankind into oblivion.
…with peanut DNA, giving it a peanut buttery consistency. This will immobilize the world’s rich by silencing them forever.
…and orders him to give Brain the right to the imperial throne.
…until he has an army of clones all working for the same goal: world domination. This goes about as well as you’d expect. He tries this in two separate episodes, actually.
…and unleashes a radio signal during a peace chant via the dental work of his followers.
…during a solar eclipse, controlling its sunlight.
…draining the Blue Danube and bring shipping to a standstill, then somehow rising to power in the ensuing chaos. Only half of a plan, really... the whole caper took a backseat to a parody of every child’s favorite movie, Carol Reed’s The Third Man.
…with a virtual reality headset and see which one of his plans succeeded. Learning he does not become ruler of Earth, Brain becomes a ski instructor.
…called the Cranial Crusader, and will use the ensuing fame and goodwill as a forum to rule the world. Repeated on Elmyra.
…across the globe, driving everyone insane.
…to market a hypnotic perfume called “Subjugation.” Attempted a second time on Elymra.
…creating “an ambulatory weather system of unstoppable might.” The entire episode is a timely parody of the (then recently released) movie Twister.
…a secret society whose membership are known to become Prime Minister of England. To become club president, he must travel the world within 79 days.This is almost like a plan?
…and is incarcerated until the government of France mistakes him for Napoleon Bonaparte. Lucked out on that one!
…a schmaltzy football drama called Brain’s Song. He shall take over the world while everyone is weeping. Foiled when the electric football tabletop used for the film’s set keeps electrocuting him.
…to sell an elixir that makes its users shorter than himself. He will then rule as world’s tallest man. The idea of the tallest being the best rulers would later turn up on Invader Zim.
…who would be too adorable to attack and take control of the world’s oil supply.
…and endear the world with his precocious talents.
…that puts its players under his thrall once the entire set is completed. Like all CCGs, it only leads to a witch hunt by concerned parents.
…sending the intelligentsia into a dither while he steps into take over the world.
…to public schools called Your Friend: World Domination, extolling the benefits of his world leadership.
…endearing himself to the public. His fans will follow his career until he takes over the world. Space Jam was in theaters at the time. coincedence? I think not.
…with assembly directions demanding people obey him.
An apocryphal P&B caper, at best.
…inciting a panic similar to the infamous Mercury Theater Broadcast in 1938. That “panic” has been overstated for decades, let’s be honest.
…causing everyone to fly off. Funny visual, but no.
…and makes them build a series of dams, allowing him to control waterways and flood major cities.
…and control the money supply of the United States. Cliché. Boring.
…allowing medieval English peasantry to bathe more frequently. Unencumbered by debilitating body odor, they will worship Brain for his generosity. The episode was a Robin Hood parody (the Kevin Costner Robin Hood, to be precise).
…causing it to remain tea time forever, allowing Brain to take over the British Empire, and eventually the world.
…with Pinky as his running mate. A dry run for the later “Pinky becomes president” episode. Does this a third time with Elmyra.
…and meets the alien, Zalgar, hoping he will help him take over the world. Regrettably, Zalgar just wanted to eat his brain. Missed opportunity.
…that release a noxious green cast when snuffed out. Pinky and the Brain are kidnapped by the Simian Liberation Army before this can happen. This episode featured Roddy MacDowell’s character, Snowball!
…as performed by Rush Limbaugh on an infinite loop, driving mankind insane. To horrible to even contemplate, even for Brain.
…to take over the world, but struggles to obtain an essential ingredient—the red toenail of a dragon.
…a subliminal message in Morse code at the 1939 World’s Fair.
…that will make him ruler of the world by spelling “you will bow before the Brain” backwards. Violates Title 18, United States Code, Section 1302, the Postal Lottery Statute.
…and benefit? It’s pretty half-baked, but the eclipse is nice.
…by stealing his lightning bolt, and overthrowing him. The Greek mythology angle gives this one bit of a leg up on the other educational episodes, but still.
…where Brain will conquer the universe with his “Mega Star.” It’s not a plan, it’s a very silly episode..
…then plans to powderize it, and control the world with sneezing powder.
…driving them insane. Getting lazy.
…and becomes King of the Beach in 1963.
…by distributing a folk tale to public schools.
…with Brain’s revised Declaration of Obedience. Set in 1776, this was one of those edutainment episodes with absolutely no stakes.
This was the only original “Take Over the World” plot on Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain, shamefully.
…so he can put a hypnotic doll on the Christmas lists of every child in the world. What if they don’t celebrate Christmas, Brain? Too many variables here.