Western Animation: Korgoth of Barbaria
"The great cities have risen and fallen. Civilization's grip on Mankind has grown weak and arthritic. Dark forces seek to renew forgotten covenants, and primordial beasts reclaim the wilderness. Out of the frozen north, a man emerges! A man of a barbaric age, whose merciless savagery may be the only key to his survival! They call him... KOR-GOTH!!!"
A classic example of What Could Have Been
, Korgoth of Barbaria
is a pilot that falls somewhere between being a parody and deconstruction of the Barbarian Hero
, (especially Conan the Barbarian
) with a lot of Black Comedy
thrown in. The result didn't just cross over the line, it continually played hopscotch going back and forth over it
The story takes place long After the End
, in a world where magic, demons and mutants are mixed with the remnants of technology and precious little civilization
. Korgoth appears to be stereotypical dim, brutal and violent Dumb Muscle
from the frozen north
, (although there are hints that he's smarter than he looks, well, at least sometimes) whose direct and ruthless fighting style
and extensive world experience makes him a perfect survivor in this Crapsack World
The show begins with a group of mooks looking for Korgoth, and having been informed that he will be visiting a certain tavern as he passes through town, they head there. They attempt to approach him, but a combination of misunderstanding and the leader of the group being a massive jerkass results in Korgoth killing most of them before they manage to convince him to hear their master's offer of employment. Their boss turns out to be Gogmagog, a criminal kingpin Korgoth has had a falling out with after their partnership went bad in the past. Gogmagog wants the Golden Goblin, a ancient figure of mystery, which has long been in keeping of a wizard called Specules. Specules seems to have abruptly vanished and left his tower unprotected, leaving Gogmagog to believe the wizard is dead and the Goblin is ripe for the taking, as long as Gogmagog can beat any other interested parties to it.
Korgoth, both out of distaste for and distrust of Gogmagog, (not to mention refusing to have anything to do with wizards) is about to refuse and leave when Gogmagog reveals Korgoth's portion of the food they just shared contained a deadly parasite and only Gogmagog can supply the antidote
. On the long, dangerous journey to the tower of Specules Korgoth will have to face many strange and lethal dangers... and then there's the tower itself.
Although the pilot was heavily hyped by Cartoon Network
as part of its [adult swim]
lineup and received a positive response from the fans, the network played an extended Will They or Won't They?
game, complete with rumors flying about them picking the show up and starting a series before the project died a quiet death. On November 2, 2013, Korgoth of Barbaria
was aired on [adult swim]
's revived Toonami
block as Daylight Savings Time filler, along with King Star King
If you've never seen it, here's a short scene to get you started
. Just keep in mind that it's not exactly the sort of thing you'd want to be caught watching at most workplaces.
This pilot contains examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Of Conan the Barbarian and similar Sword and Sorcery narratives.
- After the End: It takes place after a massive war that destroys civilization and causes humanity to descend into anarchic savagery. Not much has changed since.
- Anti-Hero: Oh, just guess who it is.
- Anyone Can Die
- An Arm and a Leg
- An Axe to Grind: He swings it with the speed a man his size would get swinging a wiffle ball bat.
- Bait and Switch: There's a cover charge to get a new bar sign and fix the spelling error on it. When asked what the error is, we look at the sign for "The Whore's Nipple Bar & Grille". Turns out the name of the bar is "The Dragon's Kneecap".
- Badass: Korgoth is one.
- Bar Brawl
- Barbarian Hero: Pretty light on the "hero" part.
- Berserk Button: Korgoth only gets truly angry twice in the short: when Hargon ("hook hand guy") knocks his drink to the floor in the beginning, and when Specules accidentally kills Orala.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Korgoth doesn't waste words.
- Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: The first thing Specules does after getting back to his tower after his vacation is to pick up the letters off the floor: "What's this now? Bills, bills..."
- Black and Gray Morality: Gray? There was gray?
- Black Comedy: Mostly by way of Bloody Hilarious. Case in point: Korgoth killing a small deer in the opening titles using only his teeth.
- Blob Monster: Specules' gum monster.
- Bloody Hilarious: Lots of gore-filled gags, such as a severed arm hitting the exact right button on the jukebox to queue up some Heavy Metal, then the adjacent bar patron giving a thumbs-up.
- Body Surf: Specules manages to escape Korgoth by magically transferring his head onto Orala's body after having accidentally exploded her head when she interrupted his fight with Korgoth.
- Butt Monkey: Stink.
- Chaste Hero: Very averted. When the girl he saves starts flirting with him, Korgoth promptly takes her into the bushes and starts having sex there only a few feet away from Gogmagog's mooks.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Korgoth, ostensibly a normal human, takes on monsters and a ton of Mooks and wins every time.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Specules has one in mind for Korgoth: being eaten alive by a monster made entirely of (used) chewing gum. However, Korgoth is too Badass for it to work.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: A Giant Mook tries to do this threat to Korgoth. Korgoth is less than impressed.
"YOU! You will regret what you have done this day! I will make you regret ever being born! You're going to regret you ever left you mother's womb, where it was warm, and safe, and wet! I'm going to show you pain you never knew existed, you're going to see a whole new spectrum of pain! Like a RAINBOW! But! THIS rainbow is not just like any other rainbow, it's—"
- Ironically enough, the reciter of this threat promptly suffers a Cruel and Unusual Death by getting half the skin of his body torn off, alcohol thrown into the open wound, and then set on fire.
- This entire scene Crosses the Line Twice, because after each action, the guy screams and the shots cut around to other people in the bar also screaming at the horror (some of whom have already suffered horribly at Korgoth's hands). EACH TIME.
- Damsel in Distress: Orala, chained to a tree (monster).
- Dirty Old Man: Specules seems to take inordinate pleasure in watching his gum monster forcibly French-kiss Korgoth.
- Disposable Woman: Orala gets her head blown off by Specules' Eye Beams, which gets Korgoth incredibly pissed.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Every woman in the show is shown to be barefoot.
- Evil Sorcerer: Specules, though everything he does in the show is a reaction to having his home invaded by a bunch of thugs covered in bird shit.
- Eye Beams: How Specules manifests some of his magical powers, such as Mind Control.
- Eye Scream: Korgoth shoves a lit candelabra into Specules' eyes.
- Fanservice: Plenty of it.
- Faux Affably Evil: Korgoth's "employer" Gogmagog. Imagine a smarmy used car salesman or lawyer going on a charm offensive, and you have Gogmagog's dinner with Korgoth (well, until the poisoning anyway) in a nutshell.
- Fetch Quest: The job that Gogmagog has for Korgoth.
- Flaying Alive: What Korgoth does to interrupt the Giant Mook's Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon spiel.
- Freudian Slip: The Wizard Specules lets one out when he finds surprise in Korgoth's seemingly absent-minded theft of his Golden Statue..
"Congratulations. Of all the imbeciles I have ever been forced to come in contact with, you, a dung-coated vagabond, have managed to arouse me—I mean, arouse my ire, far more than any other!"
- Funbag Airbag: One of the guys attacking Korgoth gets flung across the room, lands right in the barmaid's cleavage, and doesn't move for the rest of the fight.
- Unless one counts what sure looks like vigorous motorboating in the process of screaming sympathetically for the aforementioned Giant Mook.
- To top it all off, aside from clear initial surprise upon his 'landing', she just sort of stands there leaning against the counter in mild bemusement, even as he screams/motorboats.
- Funny Background Event: A portrait of a man with what appears to be an enormous member can briefly be seen in the tavern.
- Giant Flyer: Monstrous pigeons, which Korgoth and Gogmagog's henchmen use to reach Specules' lair.
- Giant Mook: The one who made the ill-fated Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon threat above.
- Go-Go Enslavement: Gogmagog is a fan of it, he keeps a bikini-clad chick in a cage.
- Groin Attack: A lot.
- Grumpy Old Man: Specules' portrayal is part this, part Evil Sorceror, and part Dirty Old Man. His entrance in the short is him shuffling in through the door of his tower, barely able to carry his two small suitcases, an annoyed grimace on his face, muttering to himself, "God-darned arthritis!..." Then of course he sees all the intruders and makes with the Mind Control Eye Beams.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: See Too Dumb to Live
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Korgoth has no compunctions about reducing anyone who wrongs him in any manner to a bloody pulp.
- Heroic Willpower: Korgoth is able to resist Specules' Mind Control Eye Beams.
- High Collar of Doom: Worn by Specules.
- Hook Hand: In place of the Mook Lieutenant's left hand.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Played for laughs, as it's the fat and wimpy Gogmagog doing it, and he's even more naked than the girl he's menacing.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: What Korgoth does when he's not impressed by a Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon threat.
- Actually, he doesn't die for quite awhile after the sentence is interrupted. Considering what Korgoth does to interrupt, this is extremely disturbing.
- MacGuffin: The Golden Goblin of the Fourth Age. Turns out it's some sort of figurine that plays tinny music and dances, like a cheap gift one would buy from a low-end retail store, making it a Mock Guffin as well.
- Made of Plasticine: Anyone and anything that tries to fight Korgoth.
- Male Gaze: Used as a gag when Hargon, a.k.a Hook Hand Guy, arrives at the inn with the rest of the mooks. The camera scans the room from his point of view, passing by a serving wench, then immediately pans back to focus on her ass.
- Manly Tears: Korgoth briefly gets these at the end of the episode, complete with crumpled paper sound.
- Meaningful Name: Many names are puns or references.
- Metaphorgotten: "I've dated girls uglier than you for breakfast!"
- Mooks: Gogmagog has a lot of these guys working for him and he sends them to fetch Korgoth for a job, but Korgoth far outclasses even the strongest.
- Mook Lieutenant: The hook handed guy.
- Neck Lift: Korgoth to Gogmagog, when he finds out Gogmagog tricked him into eating poisoned food.
- No Name Given: Hook hand guy. Not even a title or rank.
- It's Hargon, according to the credits.
- No Sell: Korgoth has this reaction to someone putting an axe through his shoulder. He just rips it out and uses it against its previous wielder.
- Oh My Gods!: "Hairy balls of the gods!"
- One-Episode Wonder: Was intended to be a full series, but unfortunately for its fans it was never picked up.
- Poison-and-Cure Gambit: Korgoth flat out refuses to go up against a wizard before Gogmagog pulls this on him.
- Reactive Continuous Scream: During the bar fight.
- Shout-Out: The intro shows Korgoth's lover turning into a monster mid-session, referencing Conan the Barbarian.
- The Stoic: Korgoth is normally pretty calm despite how violent he can be. Just don't mess with his alcohol or his Girl of the Week.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Orala.
- Talk to the Fist: A classic and hysterically funny (in a very dark way) case.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Korgoth tends to do this. See what he does to interrupt the Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon speech above.
- Testosterone Poisoning: If it were a little less over the top it would have been right at home as part of Heavy Metal.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- Korgoth's Lizard Mount eats a strange, apple like fruit and promptly explodes. Korgoth and the Mooks traveling with him promptly drop the exploding fruit, but one shrugs and eats it anyway. Guess What Happens.
- One of the Mooks claims to know how to get the giant pigeons to give them a lift:
Mook: HEY, you big dumb bird! Look at me! I-*is bitten in half* AAHHHHHHH!
- We Are Team Cannon Fodder: Pretty much everyone who's not Korgoth will will die horribly, with few exceptions. Granted, he's Korgoth of Barbaria and they're the Gogmagog's random mooks.
- We Have Reserves: Gogmagog specifically tells Korgoth he'll send his best men with him... and some of the less strong ones, for the sake of amusement.
- When Trees Attack: ...they get turned into firewood by Korgoth.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Korgoth doesn't like magic or magicians.
Korgoth: I despise all weavers of the black arts. Speaking of which, could you pass the gravy?
- World of Buxom: All of the damsels who appear in the show are quite busty.
- Wretched Hive: Where the story begins.
- You All Meet in an Inn: And then most of you die in an inn.
- Your Head Asplode: Happens to Orala when she walks in on Specules using his Mind Control Eye Beams on Korgoth, who was resisting with Heroic Willpower.