Western Animation: The Brak Show
The Brak Show
(2000-2003) was a very
surreal Quarter Hour Short
on [adult swim]
, parodying Dom Coms
, set (sort of) in the Space Ghost Coast to Coast universe
. The show starred Brak and Zorak as high school students
in a suburban neighborhood.
It was animated by Wild Hare Studios, which animated Aqua Teen Hunger Force
for its first two seasons. Clay Martin Croker, who played Zorak, was also the animation director for both series. It ran for two fourteen-episode seasons before it was unexpectedly cancelled, with viewers not finding out till the end of the final episode.
The Brak Tropes:
- Aliens and Monsters: The inhabitants of Brak's planet.
- Baleful Polymorph: Thanks to Mobab forcing her into a cocoon, Mom ends up as a giant butterfly in "Mobab".
- Basement-Dweller: Mobab is revealed to be one, still living with his mother, despite his suave demeanor.
- The Cameo: A blink-and-you-missed-it Meatwad riding a scooter/moped.
- The Chew Toy: Zorak, and he deserves it.
Zorak: Nobody likes me. That's the way I like it.
- There's also Clarence, who seemed to grow into this role as he made more appearances. This is considering he was dropped down a trapdoor, was set on fire by a mutated Zorak while carrying gasoline, was nonchalantly gunned down (off-screen) by Zorak with a machine gun (Clarence thought they were playing squirt guns),got Eaten Alive by a giant ant, had his body turned into sausages, and lost a chunk of his head to a shoulder rocket.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Brak demonstrates this on a regular basis.
- Interestingly, so does Dad, usually through his various nuggets of wisdom. Or emptying a shotgun into an ice cream display case because it "tried to rob him".
- Darker and Edgier: Season two compared to season one, justified in that season one aired before [adult swim] had "officially" split from Cartoon Network.
- Dirty Old Man: Marlon the Wizard
- Despite being a Posthumous Character, Poppy is shown to be one, considering his advice to Brak about girls essentially amounts to sexual harassment. Amusingly, Marlon and Poppy shared the same voice actor.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Despite the androgynous voice and vaguely feminine appearance, Pepper is actually a guy. Zorak is quite disturbed and pissed off when he finds out.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Everyone calls Brak's parents "Dad" and "Mom". Including campaign advertisements and newspapers.
- In an [adult swim] New Year's Eve bumper, he revealed his name to be Javier.
- Evil Versus Evil: Of a sort, as one episode revolved around Zorak having his booth (wherein he had people pay him to beat them up, since they'd "be getting it anyway") stolen by a new bully named "Butchy" Toughington. Of course, Zorak's attempts to fight Butchy end with an ass-beating.
- Free the Frogs: Brak tries to get out of dissecting a clam. The clam eventually manages to free himself.
- Furry Confusion: Used in the pilot.
- Groin Attack: Referenced when Butchy is mentioned in passing as threatening to kick Zorak's biscuits. Dad's reaction heavily suggests this trope.
Zorak: Stop talking about my biscuits!
- Grounded Forever: In an episode, Dad grounded Brak for 3 years.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Zorak, somewhat muted by the fact that he is The Chew Toy.
- Hey Lets Put On A Show: Psychoklahoma!
- Humongous Mecha: Averted in that Thundercleese is based off one, but he's certainly not as tall.
- Ice-Cream Koan: Dad has a lot of these.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Not the official titles, but episodes from early in the show's run started with a parody of a Dom Com, but with Brak's name, much like Ed, Edd n Eddy.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Parodied with the original pilots, Brak Presents The Brak Show Starring Brak.
- Jerkass: Zorak.
- Dad also, though a bit more passive-aggressive about it.
- Kill It with Fire: Zorak is seen discharging a flamethrower in the opening credits, and appears in one fantasy sequence turning that same flamethrower onto an auditorium. He also undergoes an inexplicable "metamorphosis" in one episode that gives him pyrokinesis, which he uses to set Thundercleese, Wunderbird, and Clarence aflame.
- Knight of Cerebus: Brenda, Mom's lookalike and replacement in "Splat", was easily the darkest character in the series, with a disturbing sense of humor and a violent temper.
- Large Ham: "I AM RHONDA, FROM THE SEVENTH LEVEL OF YAR!"
Thundercleese: "Is that the best you can do?"
His Adversary: "... yes."
Thundercleese: "THEN PREPARE TO TASTE MY RAGE!"
- Musical Episode: A majority of the episodes in the first two seasons. But Psychoklahoma especially.
- Same goes for Brakstreet.
- Negative Continuity, caused by Snapbacks.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Rhonda, of the Seventh Level of Yar, is a freaky entity in a box that tried to encourage her son's attempts at cannibalism. There's also Brenda, Mom's very disturbing lookalike and replacement.
- No Indoor Voice: Rhonda of the Seventh Level of Yar.
- No Name Given: Brak's parents. In an Adult Swim bumper during New Year's, his name is Javier and he's not Brak's dad.
- Older Than They Look: Parodied in one episode when Zorak reveals he's actually forty years old
- Once an Episode: Brak sings, and Thundercleese blows up Zorak.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Dad (rather poorly) dresses up his new vacuum cleaner with a wig, a pair of fake lips, a bra, and a skirt, and tries to pass it off as his mother. Brak and Thundercleese buy it (although Thundercleese was already smitten with the vacuum cleaner).
- Product Placement: Papa John's Pizza appeared through stock photos in a few episodes. The company was even thanked in the credits of an episode.
- At the end of Braklet, Prince of Spaceland, after both Brak and Zorak have been decapitated.
Brak: Well, what are we gonna do now?
- Rule of Funny: The show essentially runs on it. How else do you make the jump from fish food to ham in less than five seconds?
- Shout-Out: As seen in his "grandma prison" flashbacks, Zorak shared the same prison number as Alex DeLarge.
- Merlin, the more serious wizard, shares the same garb colors as another wizard with the same name.
- Brak has a jar containing a "Charlie Daniels Gland", which he named because of the hat it inexplicably possesses.
- Spin-Off: From Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
- Stock Footage: From Space Ghost & Dino Boy. One episode used Stock Footage from Huckleberry Hound.
- "So you're saying that Huckleberry Hound, a dog who has held several jobs and can tie his own bow-tie, has somehow, for reasons unknown, reverted to a primal doglike state... and he's taken to eating noses."
- They Killed Kenny Again: Zorak has been killed a few times, but always manages to return (although "Splat" required some magical assistance for that to happen). Clarence has also been killed or grievously injured a few times, as well (such as in the aforementioned "Splat").
- Not of the show itself, but Dad once hosted a series of "We will kill you" Halloween bumpers in 2003. The Running Gag involved him being killed in almost every one of them.
- To Serve Man: Zorak surmises that the mothership that appears in "Pepper" is a lunch wagon that'll take the "lucky one" and feed them to a giant worm. It turns out he was not far off when they abduct Sisto and ask how long it takes to "prepare themselves".
- Token Human: Dad, although he could be a humanoid, given the setting
- Too Dumb to Live: Subverted in that Zorak always dies.
- Unsettling Gender-Reveal: It turns out that Pepper is actually male, when the mothership speaker outright says that it's time to return home to his wife and children. Zorak, who had spent the episode in a relationship with Pepper, was understandably angry to find this out.
- The Voiceless: Sisto, Brak's brother who tended to appear Once an Episode in Season One (until he was abducted and presumably eaten by aliens).
- Wham Line: The show's final line is Brak revealing that the show has been cancelled.
- Parodied in "All That I Desire You" (which made fun of soap opera tropes) with the revelations that Dad was really the tumor-bearing millionaire Drake Gainway the entire time, Brak's wife was actually his half-sister due to being Dad's legitimate daughter, and that Zorak, and Clarence were the illegitimate children of Dad's mistress, Cynthia (who Zorak and Clarence both married).
- What Does She See in Him?: The series gets a lot of mileage out of Mom's unpleasant marriage to Dad (although she seems to desire him when she's tanked). Amusingly, he even seems aware of this.
Mom: No, Brak, dear. Your father is just being an ass.
Dad: Well, you should know. You married one!
- Whole Plot Reference: Braklet, Prince of Spaceland is a take on Hamlet. Of course, this is still The Brak Show so everything is completely insane. For example, there is a lightsaber battle at the end, and a plug for The Powerpuff Girls.
- Widget Series: Also parodies this very trope in "Sexy New Brak Show Go".
- A Wizard Did It: A literal example, as apparently everything that exists in the Brak Show was brought into existence by Marlon and Merlin.
- You Do Not Want To Know: Zorak apparently discharges some kind of disgusting goop, as seen when he forcefully stays in Brak's bed. He asks Brak if he really wants to know where his "funk" came from.