WTFAW: Pinky and the Brain

This is a theory I came across not too long ago, about the TV-show Pinky and The Brain.

The theory is that Pinky is in fact the smart one, and Brain is the stupid one.

So, shall we see why this theory doesn’t add up?

Let’s review the arguments people raise.

Dave: Almost every episode follows the same formula! Brain comes up with a plan, Pinky spots an obvious flaw, Brain ignores it and Pinky turns out to be right!

Hmm… interesting argument. Let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you. In the meantime, let’s go to the next argument.

Dave: Well, the theme song is “They’re Pinky and the Brain/ yes Pinky and the Brain
One is a genius/ the other’s insane”. The fact that Pinky is named first might be because he is the smart one.

Oh, of course! It’s so obvious! Never mind the fact that when that part is sung in the intro, Brain is seen writing on a chalkboard…. while Pinky is jumping around in a straight-jacket. Now, this could just be a ruse or, you know, the fact that it’s a SONG, and “Brain” rhymes with “Insane”, whereas it’s pretty hard to rhyme something with “Pinky”.

It’s a long shot, I know….

Dave: Ok, how about this? In one episode, Brain is in a quiz show, and fails to answer a question Pinky managed to answer. Now, surely this proves Pinky is the smarter one!

Really? And what, might I ask, was that question?

Dave: well… uh…

See, everyone who raise this argument fail to specify what the actual question was. The question was “This classic TV character is known for saying ‘Bang! Zoom! Right in the Kisser!

The character in question is from one of Pinky’s favourite shows, a show which Brain has no interest in.

Conversely, the questions Brain got RIGHT included knowing three neighbouring islands to the isle of Yap and the inverse-square law.

Dave: Well, in that same episode, we’re shown that Pinky is able to read! Brain is barely able to write his own name on the game show!

First of all, Brain is shown, in that very episode, to also be able to read. He has been shown to master physics, ballistics, lockpicking and naval navigation, among other things.

And poor handwriting is in no way proof of a lack of intelligence. Not to mention said handwriting was done while in a robot suit, which is shown to be extremely difficult to control.

Dave: Oh, ok! I didn’t want to do this, but the episode That Smarts has Brain calculating why his plans keep failing. And the result shows Pinky to be the cause. Brain makes Pinky smart (with SCIENCE) and Pinky’s personality doesn’t change at all!

Is that all?

Dave: No! Smart Pinky spots an error in the calculations, and it’s shown that BRAIN is the reason they keep failing! This proves that Brain is the stupid one, and Pinky is just pretending when he’s actually the smart one! The machine never worked in the first place, and Pinky is just given a chance to show his real self to Brain! I’d like to see you explain that!

Don’t mind if I do. Ahem…

The idea seems to be partly that Pinky’s personality is tied to his intelligence. According to that idea, you can’t be happy, friendly and intelligent at the same time.

Dave: Uhm….

And I suppose we’re just going to ignore the fact that Pinky, being dismissed by Brain, flat out says that “Being a smarty’s no fun…” and he can use the machine to make himself stupid because “He’s smart enough now”.

Doesn’t that sort of prove that being intelligent is a new experience for him?

Dave: Well, I….

Then there’s the idea that since the calculations show Brain as the cause of their continued failures, it proves that he’s the stupid one.

And that would perhaps be true, if the purpose for the calculations were to find out who was the stupid one. Unfortunately, the purpose of the calculation was to find out why they keep failing.

When it showed Pinky as the cause, Brain made the logical conclusion it was because Pinky is less intelligent. It is one of his most prominent characteristics.

Now, let’s take a look at Brain, with that in mind. He is arrogant, narcissistic, he believes that he is always right, and his reason for wanting to take over the world is that he thinks he can rule it better than anyone else can.

Maybe he hasn’t conquered the world because he is what I like to call an “Asimovian Idiot”.

Dave: He’s what?

I’ve named the term after prolific science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. You see, in his stories, he very rarely wrote characters that were uneducated. Apart from a few average people, like Elijah Bailey and family, or the people in the Dahl sector in Prelude to Foundation, Asimov focused mainly on the intellectuals. The reason for this, as I’ve found, is to illustrate how knowledge can be dangerous when abused by greed, ambition or lack of forethought. Just because you’re well educated, doesn’t mean you can’t be ignorant.

Brain is, in the end, a victim of his own hubris. This is where I get back to the first argument you raised, Dave. When Brain makes a plan, he is so certain of his own genius that the obvious flaw eludes him. It never occurs to him that he’d overlook something so obvious, because he’s too much of a narcissist. Add to that the fact that it’s PINKY who suggests the flaw, and it’s no wonder he’d dismiss the idea.

If he was able to recognize that flaw in his character, he would have no problem taking over the world. Of course, if he wasn’t such a narcissist, he wouldn’t WANT to!

Hell, when he finds out that he’s the cause of his own failure, he leaps to the conclusion that it has to do with his intellect, rather than something to do with his personality.

As for the episode That Smarts, Do you know how the episode ends, Dave?

Dave: Pinky goes back to (pretending to) being stupid.

Wrong. BOTH of them end up stupid, which should prove that the machine did indeed work.

Also, let’s assume that you’re in fact right, and Pinky is the smart one. Why would he want to keep it secret?

Dave: So he can keep an eye on Brain and ruin his plans.

Is that so? Then might I ask why he bothers to tell Brain the obvious flaw in his plans? If he knows right from the start the plan will always fail, and he wants the plan to fail, why would he point out a flaw that would make the plan less likely to fail?

Seems to me this theory of yours doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Why am I not surprised….

Anyway, I think we’ve established pretty conclusively that Pinky is, indeed, a nitwit and Brain is the smarter of the two. It’s just that he’s steeped in his own irony.

Oh, I almost forgot. Before I leave, I think people might find this X-Ray from the intro somewhat interesting.

By the way, where’s the theory of Brain being a Robot?

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