Mar 22, 2014

TV Rewind: Pinky, Elmyra & The Brain - "Yule Be Sorry/How I Spent My Weekend"

Welcome to TV Rewind with the doomed crossover series Pinky, Emlyra & The Brain in which two flagship series join forces for a short-lived, ill conceived show. Over the course of this series, we will look at all of the episodes as presented on the DVD set and analyze if the show was really that bad and if it does any justice for the beloved 90's output between Warner Brothers and Steven Spielberg, who parted ways afterwards. Check back every Saturday for a look at the latest and make sure to check out my other recaps as well.

"Yule Be Sorry"

As Christmastime is rolling around at Elmyra's (Cree Summer) place, Brain (Maurice LaMarche) is working on his next project called the oxy absorber. Its main goal is to be a machine that sucks the oxygen out of the room in order to cause everyone to fall asleep and come to his command.  He is angry that Elmyra is keeping Pinky busy instead of helping him. He wants to try it on Elmyra, but when Pinky (Rob Paulsen) flips the switch, Brain is in an unfortunate spot that causes him to fall victim to the experimentation. 
In his dream state, Brain has a laboratory back. He is doing well and having a blast on getting work done. However, he is missing Pinky, which leaves a big hole in his life. He has Elmyra there harassing him, which is an even bigger nightmare. Upon waking up, he feels thankful for having Pinky in his life and decides that it is fine for the two to hang out together. If anything, it keeps her busy from bothering him while he is working.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

"How I Spent My Weekend"

Told through a drawing on yellow notepad paper, presumably drawn by Elmyra, she recounts the events of her weekend. After introducing her mice friend, which has Pinky as the smart one and Brain as silly, it follows the story of how Brain made a robot named Roberto. From there, he flies the three of them to France, where he turns cheese into American tourists. Things go awry, but this is all to Brain's plan. Along with an upbeat song that annoys Brain, the events continue. Roberto changes his ways and turns the tourists back into cheese. He also falls in love with a lady robot, whom he falls in love with and moves to Mars.
In the real world, Elmyra's teacher accuses her of over exaggeration and lack of facts. She fails her assignment, which totally bums her out. She decides to go and get photos from a photo developing booth from Lance, who made a cameo in the story. It shows that the events are in fact true and that everything they said happened did. They return to the house, which has a hole in the roof, much fitting the description of Roberto and his enormous growth early on in the process.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 2 out of 5

These two segments felt like pandering towards the idea that Elmyra is the living genius of the show. Consider the lack of consequences that face her. She isn't punished, but instead accepted among the mice, even if only as a way to avoid abuse. In the first segment in particular, the pseudo-It's a Wonderful Life take starts off with some smarts. Brain wants to get out of an abusive relationship with Elmyra, which as proven through flashbacks has been nothing but annoying since they crossed paths. There was some basis there that things could go towards Brain's way for an episode, even if this was just the writers basically admitting that this series was a terrible, terrible idea.
Even if the idea of Pinky being used as a buffer as to allow Brain to do his work, it still reflects Elmyra winning. It makes no sense, as either way, she will likely abuse her animals. It just seems more likely that Pinky will take the hit if he's there. By the end, nothing is really learned that wasn't already evident in the first few episodes, even the opening credits sequence. I cannot quite get how crossing over these two could be seen as having limitless possibilities suitable for a series. So far, the creativity has come from them not working together and staying within familiar realms that was seen on their old TV shows. Here, it just feels like butting heads and not in an interesting way either. Also, as a Christmas episode, how much food did we need to see shoved into Brain? This is the most egregious form of abuse in awhile and didn't set up any sympathetic arc to follow in the story that couldn't have been saved by Brain just bailing.
The second recalls practically everything that I find opposition to with the series. For starters, Elmyra is a terrible character and to have her narrate a whole segment, let alone one with a commercial break for some reason, is poor planning. Her conversation pattern is meant to be seen as cute with her juvenile approach to descriptions. Even then, her innocence is defiled by her abusive nature. She cannot have it both ways. To have her story work, she needs to be likable and not have Brain as a dictator feel like the better solution. 
I won't really critique the animation, which is reflective of Elmyra. It is actually kind of interesting in a way. However, along with a story of a robot going to France and calling them France people instead of French, it adds up in terms of grating. The creativity is overshadowed by an abundance of twee and annoying version at that. I do like how all of the pieces tied together in the real world, but at the same time, I just wish that it wasn't one told from her perspective. Much like Brain, I've had enough of Elmyra by the end of this. The one benefit is that the song that is consistently sung isn't that bad. 
One annoying factor with this series is how inconsistent I feel it has been. One week, I am giving it passing marks while the next is a direct beat down. I don't know why, but the show just works out that way. In particular, this is my least favorite group of segments to date. With disc one of the two disc DVD set officially done, a lot of the hard work is out of the way. Only six episodes to go. Hopefully the kinks will be worked out by the end. Of course, I have thought that they were at multiple points, but then this showed up to disprove my theory.

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