He says "I'm really desperate, would you like to host a show?"
I says "I'm kinda busy here, saving the world from crime
But if the money's right, then buddy, show me where to sign!"
—Space Ghost in the show's Expository Theme Tune.
Cartoon Planet (1995-1997) was a spin-off of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, or, what happened when the creative team behind said show was given free rein with the Turner cartoon library. Cartoon Planet was a mix of songs, sketches, and clips of older shows, described by head writer Pete Smith as "a cross between The Sonny and Cher Show, The Electric Company (1971), and recess at the Richard M. Nixon School for Wayward Boys". The show starred Space Ghost, Zorak, and Brak in the same character interpretations shown in Space Ghost Coast to Coast: Space Ghost as the egotistical blowhard host, Zorak his long-suffering (and evil) foil, and Brak as a loveable "half-lobotomized" simpleton. The characteristics of Brak in Cartoon Planet and banter between him and Zorak were the inspiration for their portrayal on The Brak Show. The show originally aired on TBS, then transferred to Cartoon Network; by 1997 the older cartoons that originally ran during the program were removed (thus shortening it to a half-hour).
It lasted only 22 episodes and due to copyright hangups will never be released on DVD. However, Rhino Entertainment did release two albums featuring songs and dialogue skits (with altered background music) from the show, "Space Ghost's Musical Bar-B-Que" in 1997, and "Space Ghost's Surf & Turf" in 1998. A non-commercial promotional album, "Modern Music for Swinging Superheroes", had previously been released in 1996; all of its contents were later re-released on the two Rhino Entertainment albums.
In 2012, Cartoon Planet was relaunched on Friday night, playing some of Cartoon Network's original "classic cartoons" as they call them, as a part of the network's 20th anniversary. Zorak and Brak return as hosts. After one year of running, it appeared that the block has lost its original purpose, the block then played a hodge podge of both old and current shows, including Johnny Test and The High Fructose Adventures of The Annoying Orange and now not only ran on Fridays, but every week day as well. It ended its run on February 8, 2014, and then was re-launched again on Boomerang starting June 6.
The following shows were rerun in the 2012 reboot:
- Almost Naked Animals
- The Amazing World of Gumball
- Camp Lazlo
- Codename: Kids Next Door
- Courage the Cowardly Dog
- Cow and Chicken
- Dexter's Laboratory
- Ed, Edd n Eddy
- Evil Con Carne
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends
- The Garfield Show
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
- The Highly Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange
- I Am Weasel
- Johnny Bravo
- Johnny Test
- The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack
- My Gym Partner's a Monkey
- The Powerpuff Girls
- The Problem Solverz
- Secret Mountain Fort Awesome
- Scaredy Squirrel
- Tom and Jerry Tales
Cartoon Planet includes examples of:
- And Your Little Dog, Too!: Attempted on Space Ghost when Zorak tried to teach Brak how to be evil. It didn't work out so well.
- Anti-Humor: Whenever Brak would do stand-up, his jokes would end this way.
- Batman Cold Open: Several episodes would begin with a sketch, entirely without context, before displaying the short intro song and logo.
- Big "NO!": Space Ghost when having a nightmare about not studying for his superhero exam. Zorak wakes him up, only to ask if he studied for the superhero exam, causing Space Ghost to let out another Big "NO!".
- Bilingual Bonus: In the song "Brak's Hawaiian Vacation", Brak says "Mele Kalikimaka" is Hawaiian for "fish food". It actually means "Merry Christmas".
- The Calls Are Coming from Inside the House: Spoofed in a segment of "Brak's Tales of Suspense".
- The Cameo:
- Count Floyd, the Horror Host played by Joe Flaherty from SCTV would show up via Stock Footage imported from the 1988 Hanna-Barbera series The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley.
- Moltar appeared once in 'Mantis from Atlantis'.
- Hilariously parodied in a skit where Zorak goes Blah Blah Blah while Space Ghost monologues about one of his adventures. For no reason whatsoever, Brak appears out of nowhere for a brief few seconds while the words "Cameo Appearance" appear under him.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: All three hosts can be considered this at one point or another, especially Brak.
- Clumsy Copyright Censorship: Some segments from the show were included on the first volume of The Brak Show, but since most of the clips during the skits/musical numbers were copyrighted footage, they were replaced with squiggly drawings. It just wasn't the same.
- Credits Gag: The credits are unusual in that only the crew member's first names are used. Some of the names even featured gags; composer Eddie Horst was always listed as "Eddie the Horse", Mike Lazzo was listed as "The Mayor of Cartoon Planet" and Keith Crofford was listed as "The Chief of Police". Additionally: "Thanks For Watching the Credits".
- Creepy Crossdresser: Zorak's Horrorscope for Leo is beratement for dressing like Strawberry Shortcake long after it's stopped being cute.
- Department of Redundancy Department: In the "Smells Like Cartoon Planet" music video:Space Ghost: Zorak, prison pod! Brak, Brak!
- Distinction Without a Difference: In the Cold Open for "Momma!", Space Ghost is informed there's no script for the opening sketch.Zorak: What are we supposed to do, ad lib?
Space Ghost: No, I think we're supposed to make it up as we go along!
- The Ditz: Brak. One fan letter questioned how he'd survived his death in the original Space Ghost cartoons, suggesting that whatever saved him had robbed him of his intelligence:Zorak: Brak, how did you survive that Piranhamite barrage?Brak: I don't remember, it's all a blur! I think I just went to sleep and woke up stupid!
- Driven to Suicide: Zorak's song "Down to the River" is about how his girlfriend doesn't care about him, so he's going to go drown himself. Subverted when he changes his mind in the end and decides to just find a new girlfriend.
- Exact Words: In "Momma!":Space Ghost: Hey Brak, say something funny.
Brak: Something funny!
- Foreshadowing: [adult swim] once aired a "Where Are They Now" style bump. The last one featured Brak, Zorak, and Moltar planning a revival of Cartoon Planet. Cartoon Planet would come back on March 31, 2012.
- Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: In the "Mail Bag Day" segment.
- Fun with Foreign Languages: The "Learning to Talk Italian" segments.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Or, rather, hosting a TV show with Zorak.
- Horrorscope: Zorak's Horrorscopes is one of the sketches, and they are basically portents of doom regardless of what sign people are under.
- "I Am Great!" Song: "Everybody Wants to Be Space Ghost"
- I'm a Humanitarian: One letter in the Mail Bag suggests the characters cannibalize each other in times of hardship. (Space Ghost laughs nervously, suspiciously at this.) But Brak is exempt, for being deemed "cool".Brak: One of the many perks of being as cool as I am is that you don't get eaten by cannibals.
- "Kick Me" Prank: According to the "Something 2 Think About: Change" skit, Brak owns a pair of briefs with "Kick Me" on the back, and willingly wears them himself. Apparently they were a gift from his mother.
- Large Ham: Space Ghost.
- Lethal Chef: Brak, his segment "Cooking With Brak" usually gets cancelled because his recipes get everyone sick.Brak: "Hey, what's the big deal? So a few people got a tummyache!"
Space Ghost: "Tummyache? The whole crew lost all feeling in their arms and legs!"
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to both Space Ghost Coast to Coast and The Brak Show. (Indeed, the reason the show began was when Ted Turner saw Space Ghost during the "World Premiere Toon-In" event that introduced the World Premiere Toons; it was simulcast across Cartoon Network, TNT and TBS, and asked "How come we don't have something like this on the Superstation?") This show is Williams Street's most kid-friendly production, due to it being made for daytime slots rather than late night.
- Limited Animation:
Space Ghost: Missed by a nickel, sport!
- Lampshaded when Brak smugly declares "I'm not animated to explode!" Space Ghost blows him up later on Space Ghost Coast to Coast, though.
- In one episode, Brak complains about his lack of poses, as all he seems to have is "sitting down" and "standing up".
- Also Lampshaded when a letter from a fan comments that the production budget must have cost 35 cents.
- Metaphorgotten: "Run it up the flagpole and see if it's a flag!"
- Musical Episode: While all three main cast members are prone to randomly bursting into song, episode 21 "The Miserables" is a compilation of all the various musical numbers from the show.
- Must Have Caffeine:
Zorak: My whole biosystem is in utter turmoil. There's an all-out war raging in this crusty shell, and I'm losing!
- Referenced during one skit where Zorak says that he's stopped drinking coffee. It was definitely not a good time for him to stop.
- Even better, Brak follows this up by describing how hyper he used to get from consuming twenty to forty gallons of the stuff a day.
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Some of the example sentences in the Learnin' to Talk Italian segments fall into this.Zorak: "Sono una tazza di tè." "I am a glass of tea."Brak: "La porta è fatta di zuppa." "The door is made of soup."Brak: "C'è una melanzana nel tuo boffo." "There is an eggplant in your moustache."
- No Fourth Wall: The characters are very well aware that they are cartoons.
- No Indoor Voice: Brak, especially compared to Zorak.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Space Ghost is accompanied by Zorak, a mantis, and Brak, a tiki-headed cat...thing.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Spoofed in one Cold Open. Space Ghost politely greets Brak. But Brak, suspecting this trope is in play, takes it as a sign he's in trouble, much to SG's annoyance.
- Pun:Brak: Hey Zorak, why do seagulls fly over the sea?
Zorak: I'll bite; why?
Brak: 'Cause if they flew over the bay, they'd be baygulls!
- Retool: The 2012 Revival. Space Ghost is no longer present (his voice actor, George Lowe, had recently retired at that point), no cartoons pre-1995 are shown, and the skits and musical numbers no longer use Stock Footage.
- Running Gag: Zorak getting blasted by Space Ghost's power bands.
- Scatting: Musical number "Scat Sandwich."
"Now it's time to say goodbye to Zorak and his kin,
- A skit parodying the movie Aliens, where Zorak said that his tummy hurts, and Space Ghost continuously said "I want my mommy". The skit ended when Brak said, "Hey, let me know if an alien's gonna pop out of ya' stomach. 'Cause, you, know, I wanna be long gone when that happens."
- The outro has Brak paraphrasing the credits song from The Beverly Hillbillies. Naturally, he doesn't quite know the lyrics and fills in as best he can:
Thank you folks for kindly doin' stuff and droppin' in!
*throaty yell in time with the melody*
And have a heapin' helping of our hospitality!"
Space Ghost: "Why, it puts me in the mind of the story of a mother who had two twin sons, Milo and Otis!"
- During a rambling Spoof Aesop:
- Spin-Off: From Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
- Spiritual Successor: The 2012 reboot is one to the Cartoon Cartoon Fridays block.
- Spoof Aesop:
- "There's an old Arcadian proverb that says: You can lead a horse to prune juice, but you can't make him drink it. Nor would you want to."
- "'I told you, never trust a monkey!'"
- Squeaky Eyes: Zorak's eye blink sound.
- Stock Footage: From countless cartoons and shows, including the original Space Ghost, Ultraseven, and The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley. Per a former editor, anything owned by Turner was fair game, so they had all sorts of footage used, including scenes from Turner-owned movies and stuff caught on CNN satellite feeds.
- Stylistic Self-Parody: Zorak's rap "Bad Bug" has him hang a lampshade on how he keeps changing colors because of all his art being recycled from the 60's Space Ghost series:"I'm green, I'm olive, I'm chartreuse. I'd like to stay one color, but what's the use?"
- Surreal Humor
- Talkative Loon: Brak again.
- Thanking the Viewer: After the Closing Credits, complete with a "See You Soon."
- To the Tune of: Several of the songs share tunes but use different lyrics. Examples include the opening theme and the closing theme, Everybody Wants 2 B Space Ghost and Ordinary Guy, It's Not Easy Being Evil and Zorak's Blues, Brak's Hawaiian Vacation and Moo Kaluka, and Rock My Baby and Something That Rhymes With Bones.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Beans, for Brak. He performed a song entirely about his love for beans, and even made it the central pillar of his presidential campaign ad.
- Unusual Euphemism: In "I Love Beans", Brak uses "cutting muffins" for... well, passing gas. In "Fluffy", Space Ghost uses "letting a fluffy" for the same thing.
- Vanity Plate: Displayed the closing tag for Ghost Planet Industries, before it took on its current name, Williams Street.
- Western Zodiac: Featured/parodied in Zorak's "Horrorscopes".
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: In the "The TV" skit, Space Ghost claims to have two kids named Eugene and Doris. Hearing this snaps Zorak out of his TV-induced hypnosis so he can mock SG over the names.
- Why Did It Have To Be Clowns?:
- Zorak hates clowns.
- Brak, on the other hand, is simply terrified of them.
- Goodbye, goodbye, g'byyyyye, everybody!