Dr. Brinner: Hold on, I need to go to the bathroom. General Negakipper: No you fool, if you do that, every universe that has ever existed will simultaneously implode!
— Dr. Brinner vs. Zombie Pink Floyd
Dr. Brinner: Ghost Psychiatrist is Andrew Hussie's (of MS Paint Adventures fame) magnum opus. It's a work spanning several years and numerous forms ranging from print to image to text to a series of Youtube videos that when first viewed seem to be mere footage of random people's children. It describes the adventures of Doctor Brinner (formerly Doctor Derek Brinner, but that was in a universe that no longer exists), an extraordinarily cool psychiatrist who deals in the dead. The coolness is canon.On several occasions, Andrew has stated that Dr. Brinner is a commentary/parody on long-running series which employ multiple universes and multiple writers within a single canon, particularly the superhero franchises contained within The Marvel Universe and The DCU. As one might expect from such a commentary, Dr. Brinner uses and abuses the Back from the Dead trope and takes the idea of a multiverse to ridiculous extremes; the comic is also full of Mood Whiplash, ridiculous (and apparently intentional) continuity problems, sporadic (and often temporary) manifestations of Cerebus Syndrome, and blatantly clumsy retcons, especially earlier in the series. True to its premise, it often feels very much like reading the work of dueling writers Armed With Canon rather than the unified work of a single artist; it is very much to Andrew’s credit that he has still managed to create a comic which, in spite of an approach which would seem to lend itself to Stylistic Suck, still manages to be an excellent read. (That said, Andrew seems to have at least partially abandoned the “multiple writers” approach in recent arcs, which have been much more focused than older ones. It’s hard to say whether this shift is an allegory for some new facet of the use of multiple writers within a canon or simply an indication that Andrew was getting tired of intentionally filling his stories with plot holes.)As a result of all of this, while it definitely boasts its fair share of awesome characters, scenes, and arcs, Dr. Brinner is NOT recommended as a starting point for someone who’s new to Andrew’s work. The story is extremely labyrinthine and can be very difficult to follow (even compared to the likes of Homestuck and Problem Sleuth, which are pretty demanding in their own right); it’s full of Mind Screwy plot twists and concepts, Big Lipped Alligator Moments, and sharp tonal shifts, all of which serve to make Dr. Brinner Andrew’s most inaccessible work despite its deceptively simple premise.See also: Comments on a Postcard and Candle Cove, two series Andrew has been involved in that take place in the same setting.
Tropes used in Dr. Brinner
Afterlife Express: It gets hijacked several times throughout the series. The Dron are particularly fond of taking it for their own purposes.
Also, the set served as the battlefield for Dr. Brinner's second battle with the Antimartyr.
Alternate History: Dozens of them. The most prominent of which is the Megapocalypse Split, in which the universe the story had been taking place in is demolished as a failure by OmniTech.
All Psychology Is Freudian: Averted. Dr. Brinner started the story as a Jungian analyst before he began studying under Ghost Freud — and Ghost Freud himself has abandoned some of his older theories and methods in favor of a more humanistic variety of psychotherapy.
Annoying Patient: About 50% of Dr. Brinner's patients stumble in drunk through the Vortex Portal in the corner. Brinner tends to be sympathetic to them, but many of them later become running jokes for their antics.
Anyone Can Die: Seems to be heading this way, with at least a couple major characters in apparently inescapable situations.
Of course, given thepremise, it's hard to say if it really counts.
Badass Beard: Brinner grew one over the twelve years he was banished to the Oubliette Dimension by the brainwashed Marquis de Sade as part of his Plot-Relevant Age-Up. After escaping, he decided he liked it and kept it.
Bad Santa: During the fourth Christmas special, several supporting characters have to stop ReggaePeter from saving Christmas, since it turns out Santa is using mind control to make children his slaves.
Badass Santa: The fifth Christmas special, however, featured Brinner teaming up with an alternate universe version of Santa, described as "the most skilled martial artist in the Arctic Circle."
Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: With a story involving a massive multiverse and time travel, some crazy historical shenanigans are pretty much guaranteed. However, Andrew tends to avoid using more obvious historical figures (with a few notable exceptions), instead focusing on more obscure folks — among other things, issues of Dr. Brinner have featured Frank Zappa as a pill-popping, corrupt DEA agent, Emperor Halie Selassie of Ethiopia as a brilliant experimental physicist, amateur jazz musician, and sidekick to WW II-era superhero Wheelman, and Quaker humanitarian William Penn as a psychopathic sorcerer-king who has a particularly strong taste for human sacrifice.
Big Bad: Appears to be the Technochrist, an android made by taking the DNA of Jesus and combining it with a robot. Stated goal of the Technochrist is to destroy every universe in which Dr. Brinner is logically capable of existing. He was apparently developed by a company called OmniTech, which he founded. Don't worry, it all makes sensein context.
Bluff The Impostor: Subverted when Mr. Seven, who isn't actually an impostor like Dr. Brinner assumes, decides that Dr. Brinner himself is an impostor because of the details of their adventures that he's getting blatantly wrong on purpose.
Body Count Competition: The 'Martyrs of the Technochrist (the Antimartyr, the Ultramartyr and the Megamartyr) are constantly discussing how many universes they have caused to unexist.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Entire universes at times. Last count had Brinner's total patients at around half a googol. Not everyone gets individual treatment, of course, and he's been known to mass-prescribe treatments quite often.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: One of Dr. Brinner's cousins is a judge. Who insists on wearing orange to work every day. Something about sympathy for the people he's trying.
Calling the Old Man Out: Franklin Delano Roosevelt gets one of these. He just wants his father to recognize that he can still be a good person without wrestling tigers.
The Cameo: In Dr. Brinner's first psychoanalysis montage, there's a very brief shot of one ghost who got many fans asking "Was that Aradia?
During the unveiling of the Brainwasher Matrix right before the Second Technowar breaks out, one of the ghosts overseeing its construction is quite clearly The Doctor. And it's just the thing he would do.
Childhood Memory Demolition Team: It's hinted that the Old Universe Dr. Brinner was sent to the current universe, and that he has vague memories of his future in that world, even though it no longer exists.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In the first few arcs, Dr. Brinner's roommate Leonard was a recurring character and Brinner's original sidekick before the introduction of the Pizza Guy. He did still feature in the comic for a while after that, but he hasn't even been mentioned since the Day of the Omni-Reaper arc, due to Andrew finding him superfluous and him having no distinguishing traits of his own.
Clone Degeneration: The Brinner clones created by Professor Heinrich start out normally enough, but eventually the machine produces mutants like Insane Brinner, Midget Brinner, Cyclops Brinner, and Two-Headed Brinner.
Clothing Damage: Brinner has a habit of getting his coat shredded at various dramatic moments, to the point where it's lampshaded in his visit to his tailor.
During his fight with Brinner, 1-48N's Powered Armour is gradually broken off piece-by-piece. His losing his helmet is what sets up The Reveal that he's John Lennon.
Cool Old Guy: Due to a combination of a curse from a mummy and one of Dr. Brinner's ancestors being The Lord Of Time of a few universes, Dr. Brinner is currently nearing infinity years old, and he is still kicking ass.
A Day in the Limelight: Don't Fear the Reaper, Pizza Delivery Guy, an arc in which the eponymous Pizza Delivery Guy and a few of his friends fight a desperate losing battle against Dark Brinner to protect the Cosmic Keystone they found in a calzone.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Not only does Brinner do this literally at one point, he's also won a few battles with the Martyrs of the Technochrist and managed to incapacitate old Slendy himself in the Dr. Brinner Meets the Slender Man crossover.
Dragons Up the Yin Yang: Whenever Brinner's Chinese pen pal and kung fu master Yung Chin shows up, expect splash panels featuring these in spades.
Evil Twin: Dark Brinner. His plans aren't nearly so large in scale as the Technochrist's, but if he decides he doesn't like you, it's pretty much all over. There's also Anti-Brinner, from the Antiverse, but he's more of an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain.
Enemy Mine: In the 3rd Technowar arch, the Dron are forced to ally with Brinner in order to defeat the Robotic Theocrats of the Technochrist. This doesn't end their near-annihilation, however
Enemy Without: Shadow Brinner, who is Brinner's actual shadow, which he sold to the Devil's grandmother in exchange for the Devil's three golden hairs. Although Shadow Brinner claims to be the real Brinner whose shadow stole his reality with an Existentialator.
The Extremist Was Right: Dr. Brinner destroys the universe to prevent the Technochrist from channeling its power into the Eye of the Infiniverse. Later, when we finally see him in an alternate universe he escaped to, he's not the slightest bit remorseful about it, much to his alternate self's disapproval.
Fallen Hero: The Big Bad of the first arc, The Cybernetic Botanist of Herzog, was actually Dr. Brinner's Grandfather. Why he went evil is yet to be resolved.
Also, Joshua L. Chamberlain after being affected by the Brainwasher Matrix in the Second Technowar.
It has also been hinted that a powerful elder god resides in one of the goggles.
Grandfather Paradox: Averted. The hinted-at Infiniverse is apparently where universes that can't logically exist tend to end up; thus there's an entire multiverse out there that's full of universes in which someone did this. Basically, if a paradox comes about, it's either resolved later on or ignored completely since there's no reason it can't be taking place in a part of the Infiniverse where paradoxes are legal.
The Greatest Story Never Told: Subverted with Don’t Fear The Reaper, Pizza Delivery Guy, which featured the Pizza Delivery Guy—who, at the time, was little more than an extra—and his Muggle friends fighting a desperate battle to prevent Dark Brinner from destroying their universe. The story of his duel with Dark Brinner is so unbelievable that the Pizza Delivery Guy doesn’t even bother telling anybody else, and it seems that his heroism and the heroism of his fallen friends will be forgotten—except that Dark Brinner mentions it to Dr. Brinner during a later battle, who, as a result, begins to take an interest in the Pizza Delivery Guy as a possible apprentice.
Living with the Villain: While undercover, Dr. Brinner worked alongside an equally undercover Anti-Martyr Satan Messiah. In a smaller scale of their epic battles, the two fought for a coveted managerial position at their company. Other than that, the two got along great.
The Magic Goes Away: The Megamartyr of the Technochrist transports Dr. Brinner to a world where paranormal activity doesn't occur with no way to get back so she can deal with his friends without him in the way.
Memetic Badass: Turkmenbashi, both in and out of universe. The guy blew up a chunk of Antarctica to prevent the Shoggoths from attacking, after all. Also, it's revealed that instead of dying as in Real Life, he ended up being blown into space but still lived. By a nuke.
Mirror Universe: The Antiverse, where people are born as ghosts and become humans after they die.
Mood Whiplash: For years the story revolved around Dr. Brinner having wacky adventures in which angry ghosts would demand that he go back in time and fix their arguments for them. Then the story took a detour when he first fought the Technochrist. And lost. Badly. The story occasionally returns to its origins, and often brings back past characters, but since then most focus is placed on his battles with The Technochrist, The Dron, Dark Brinner and other enemies with much larger goals than just winning petty arguments.
More than Mind Control: The Dron have a very unusual relationship with those they take control of, involving months of psychological conditioning so the "victims" are okay with the whole ordeal. Dr. Brinner, of course, isn't at all pleased by them regardless.
The Movie: Rumor has it that famed Brinner fan Kevin Smith has been tapped by Paramount to write and direct a Dr. Brinner movie where Dr. Brinner, played by Ben Affleck, teams up with Jay and Silent Bob in an epic 4-hour adventure culminating in a showdown with the Technochrist himself, played by archived footage of George Carlin!
Mr. Fanservice: Nicolaus Copernicus gets quite a fangirl following, seeing as Andrew draws him as a typical Bishōnen despite him not being very good-looking in many real-life portraits.
My Death Is Just the Beginning: When the Antimartyr of the Technochrist dies, he goes into a long rant of how it's all part of the complicated plot to kill Dr. Brinner permanently.
This later becomes a subversion — the Antimartyr actually survived his staged "death", and his rant turns out to be part of a concerted campaign of misinformation meant to deceive the Doc.
However, this trope is apparentlysubverted with Jericho Incest, who happens to be a decent guy with an unfortunate surname. At least at first, anyway...
Never Live It Down: The Megamartyr really wishes everyone would just forget about that time she replaced the sun with a disco ball and gave the entire planet a soundtrack of upbeat 70's tunes.
No Name Given: Played straight with the Pizza Delivery Guy, the Pizza Delivery Guy’s Dad, the Technochrist and his Martyrs, and Wheelman; parodied with The Man with the Really Ugly Striped Blue Turtleneck and Matching Cargo Pants.
Noble Bigot: Ghost Freud works tirelessly alongside Dr. Brinner to defend the dead from interdimensional predators and bizarre mental disorders, and, overall, he's not a bad guy — but, unfortunately, he still subscribes to a few rather sexist theoriesabout women.
One-Scene Wonder: That...thing from the last chapter of the Onyx Ghost arc that called itself "Jimmy Carter" left a pretty big impression on the fandom, despite the fact that it (thankfully) hasn't showed up since.
The Problem with Licensed Games: Averted, much to the delight of fans. Noted Brinner fan and game designer Daniel Remar has released a Dr. Brinner Action RPG, faithfully recounting the events of the comic up to the end of the Second Technowar, and it's been praised as tieing with Iji for his best game. The fact that he had Andrew on hand through the whole creative process probably helped.
Rage Against the Heavens: Dr. Brinner doesn't really appreciate whoever is in charge of a universe where the dead are allowed no peace. During the Lamb of Regality saga he attempts this and fails.
Reset Button: The size of any given multiverse is aleph null, and the Infiniverse is presumably aleph one in size, so there's literally an infinite number of these that the characters can go to if they screw something up. Of course, it's generally considered polite if they go fix their mistakes later. There is also the reverse home machine, which destroys all universes except the one in which the one who pushes it succeed's, but it has never been used.
Start of Darkness: Brotherhood of Malcontent, which explains how the Technochrist's struggle with having the DNA of Jesus in a body designed only to kill turns him into the evil he is.
If some theories are true the the whole comic may be one for Dr.Brinner himself.
Time Travel Tense Trouble: Made especially difficult by the multiverse. How do you say that someone who used to be you who will for a brief period of time in the future exist in a different universe did something in this universe next week?
"Yo yo yo my main Mack daddy Puffy D! I wuzzice slim to the f to the hey-yo when I jacked that whack shellac down street on the flipflop timepants! Bro."
Mind you, this character is an exiled prince from Victorian England. WHY?
Unknown Rival: Corporal "Schizo" Dempski, a delusional special forces officer turned paraplegic who is convinced that Dr. Brinner not only served in his Green Beret platoon, but was the mastermind behind the unit's catastrophic last mission. Dr. Brinner, naturally, doesn't have a clue who he is.
Which Me?: There have been dozens of Dr. Brinners throughout the story, and supporting characters certainly aren't immune either.
You Must Be Cold: Done hilariously with HelperTron 9000 during Brinner's expedition to Greenland. Unfortunately, HelperTron hadn't taken his combat modifications into consideration and pulled a flamethrower on Brinner...
It was quickly pointed out that the haphazard summing-up of events that can occasionally happen on TV Tropes makes it the perfect venue for detailed discussion of the comic. Actually, it's probably better summed up as Just for Fun. Defictionalization has occurred as Andrew put a cameo of a letter addressed to Brinner in Homestuck.