By Valerie Watson

There are days when I wish I could transplant my brain, with its rich history of experience, memories, thoughts, and feelings, into a fresh, new body, with less back pain, fewer knee tweaks, and a lack of assorted other issues that may or may not be associated with aging. (I kinda don't want to think about it . . . or perhaps my brain is having memory issues.) However, the brain transplant remains a hypothetical procedure rife with bioethical concerns. Fortunately, the realm of pop culture has presented us with a variety of brain transplant scenarios to enjoy. Your job? Match the brain-transplant-related plot with the book, movie, or TV show in which it was featured.
  1. Original Star Trek – Ship's officer has brain removed and stolen by gang of hot, none-too-bright female aliens to serve as an organic computer to run their planet. In the ST:TOS episode "Spock's Brain," Leonard Nimoy suffers the indignity of first having his brain stolen, then of having his brainless body forced to walk around by Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) operating a primitive handheld remote control. Almost universally declared to be the worst Star Trek episode ever. Most memorable quote? "Brain and brain . . . what is brain?"
  2. I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein – Super-elderly billionaire whose body is on its last legs has his brain transplanted into the body of his beautiful young secretary. When wealthy industrialist Johann Sebastian Bach Smith arranges to find a younger body in which to transplant his brain, he never dreams that the body will be that of his beloved secretary Eunice, who is killed in an assault. Written in 1970, the book uses this plot as an opportunity to explore the differences between young and old, male and female, cranky and cheerful, chaste and promiscuous. (Especially promiscuous.)
  3. Friends – In show-within-a-show storyline, actor plays character who's the result of a scheming diva's brain being transplanted into the body of a male neurosurgeon. Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) has an up-and-down history as an actor on the soap Days of Our Lives. He gets cast in and then loses the role of neurosurgeon Dr. Drake Ramoray, and is later brought back to the show to play a composite of Dr. Ramoray's body and the brain of prima donna–ish Jessica Lockhart, who was formerly played by fictional actress Cecilia Monroe (Susan Sarandon). While soap operas have a history of way-out-there storylines, including much reanimation of dead characters, this story may have either achieved new highs or sunk to new lows . . . depending on your perspective.
  4. Young Frankenstein – In classic horror film spoof, mad scientist's grandson finds old man's journals and recreates his attempts to reanimate dead body with transplanted brain. This classic Mel Brooks comedy wrings ample humor from the oft-told tale of the doctor obsessed with both brain transplantation and reanimation. Plus it uses period-appropriate black-and-white cinematography and many sets and props from the original 1931 film Frankenstein, and features an amazing cast headed by Gene Wilder as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, which he insists must be pronounced "FRAHNKensteen." As the monster, Peter Boyle does more with a few grunts and sidelong glances into the camera than most actors achieve with pages of dialog.
  5. The Thing with Two Heads – Wealthy, ailing racist has head transplanted onto new body—the body of an African-American death row inmate. With the original head still attached. Ray Milland: classic actor in classic films like The Lost Weekend and Dial M for Murder. Rosey Grier: football legend of the L.A. Rams' "Fearsome Foursome" and author of the 1973 book Needlepoint for Men. Put them together (surgically!) and you've got one of the most truly awful (and most unintentionally funny) movies ever. Perhaps more presciently than one would expect, the trailer begins with the line "It seemed like a good idea at the time . . . "