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Western Animation / The Brak Show

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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 three seasons and twenty-eight episodes before it was unexpectedly canceled, with viewers not finding out until the end of the final episode, the first of the original Adult Swim lineup (not counting Cowboy Bebop, which didn't belong to them) to be canceled.

The Brak Tropes:

  • Adaptational Dumbass: Most notably Brak, who was a intelligent, underhanded supervillain in Space Ghost. Here, he's a teenager who is a lovable, harmless simpleton who is very comedic, especially in other adaptations such as Cartoon Planet and Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Brak leans more towards good than bad and is not what one calls a villain, in contrast to how he is a full on villain in the original Space Ghost.
  • Actor Allusion: Zorak says "Gentlemen, behold!" as he unveils the "operated" cast in "All That I Desire You".
  • Basement-Dweller: Despite being a suave gentlemen, Mobab still lives in his mother's basement.
  • Black Comedy: "Splat" has this in droves. Mom and Dad run over Zorak, leading to several dark scenes, such as her playing with this dead head as a puppet, and both of them eating his remains as "chicken." Once Clarence threatens to tell, she brutally murders him and grinds his body into sausages. Throughout the episode, she makes several quips about her actions, but at least the end reveals "Mom" in this episode was actually a substitute named Brenda.
  • Brick Joke: At the start of "Brakstreet: Men in the Band" it's mentioned Mom went to a ski resort to get away from Dad and Brak. After Dad and Brak win the rap battle, first prize being a trip to a ski resort, it turns out to be the same ski resort Mom went to, much to her displeasure.
  • Buffoonish Tomcat: Well Brak is classified as an anthropomorphic teenage "space cat" and/or a Alien Cat, Brak is one that is very buffoonish and is a lovable simpleton in the show.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Zorak to Thundercleese. Granted, Zorak is a bullying jerk to everyone, but you'd think he'd give the literal war machine a wider berth.
  • The Chew Toy: Clarence grew into this role as he made more appearances. He's been dropped down a trapdoor, set on fire by a pyrokinetic Zorak, nonchalantly gunned down also by Zorak (offscreen, he thought they were playing squirt guns), Eaten Alive by a giant ant, had his body processed into sausages, and lost part of his head to a shoulder rocket.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Dad often demonstrates this side of himself through his nuggets of wisdom. Or emptying a shotgun into an ice cream display case for "trying to rob him".
    • The titular Brak demonstrates this on a regular basis due to how eccentric and goofy he is.
  • Crossover:
    • One with Space Ghost Coast to Coast where Space Ghost shows up to try and get Brak back while Moltar meets Brak and Zorak.
    • "The Bashingtons", a series of shorts played during New Year's Eve 2003 that starts with Brak's mom and dad inviting all the other Adult Swim stars at the time (specifically, everyone from a show made by Williams Street, so no appearances of the Home Movies characters or their anime lineup) for a New Year's Eve party. The last segment ends with Dad watching the show get canceled, Mom running off with their last paycheck, and George Lowe begging Adult Swim head Keith Crawford to keep Space Ghost on.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: How Zorak describes his In-Universe playing of "Headkicker" in "Time Machine".
    Mom: What have you boys been up to all weekend?
    Brak: We've been playing Headkicker.
    Zorak: I've been playing. You've been getting a red-ass beatdown.
  • Darker and Edgier: Season two compared to season one, justified in that season one aired before [adult swim] had "officially" split from Cartoon Network.
  • Dismembering the Body: In the episode "Splat", Zorak is chopped apart by Dad and Mom's imposter and make him into filets after running him over.
  • Downer Ending: The series ends with everyone turned into penguins and Brak aware he's been canceled. An ad for reruns after the show ended shows Brak back to normal...except he's been forced to live in a garbage dump and is rather bitter about it.
  • 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.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: Deliberately subverted. There's no indication whatsoever in "Cardburkey" that it's the last episode until the literal last line, "I wish we weren't penguins and that our show wasn't canceled." And then the episode just stops, followed by the Cartoon Network logo and a deflated snipped of the theme song. At least during the original airing, there was a brief Show Within a Show epilogue where Brak and his dad respond to Adult Swim canceling them.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Everyone calls Brak's parents "Dad" and "Mom". Including campaign advertisements and newspapers. Subverted in "The Bashingtons" where "Dad" tells Brak his name is Javier, and he isn't Brak's dad after finding out they were canceled.
  • 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.
  • Fire Means Chaos: In an episode, Brak's mother leaves Brak and his father alone in the house; after a few minutes, the house is shown in complete disarray and Father asks Brak about the status of the fire. Brak (in bunker gear) replies, "It's contained for now."
  • Forced Transformation: Thanks to Mobab forcing her into a cocoon, Mom ends up as a giant butterfly at the end of his episode.
  • Free the Frogs: Brak tries to get out of dissecting a clam. The clam eventually manages to free himself.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Zorak. Wantonly destructive, more than willing to pull pranks on everybody, and in general seen as a nuisance by everyone but Brak. That all being said, he still hangs out with Brak's family and helps them out, like participating in a play Brak put on or playing a role in Dad's campaign ad.
  • 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: Shut up about my biscuits!
  • Grounded Forever:
    • In an episode, Dad grounded Brak for 3 years.
    • In another, he grounded Brak with these words:
      "... and you can rot up there, for all I care!"
  • 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:
    • Thundercleese as well.
      Thundercleese: "Is that the best you can do?"
      His Adversary: "... yes."
      Thundercleese: "THEN PREPARE TO TASTE MY RAGE!"
      • Seriously, he can't even take a vacation without getting hammy.
        Cut to Thundercleese surfing on a tidal wave while aimlessly shooting his laser cannons in all directions.
        Thundercleese: "OUT OF MY WAY! HA HA! TASTE DEFEAT!!!"
  • Lethally Stupid: Brak is put in charge of looking after Thundercleese's pet goldfish, but is warned not to feed him three hams because it will kill him. The first thing Brak does is feed the fish a three-ham omelette (he somehow remembered it as "three hams will fill him").
  • 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 Name Given: Brak's parents. In one of the Adult Swim New Year's Eve Party bumpers in 2003, his name is Javier and he's not Brak's dad.
  • No Social Skills: Thundercleese. He prepares for social get-togethers by studying bad "party jokes".
  • Oh, Crap!: When Thundercleese's powers are turned off after being deemed "obsolete", Zorak takes this opportunity to destroy his garden since he can no longer blast him like usual. Zorak has this reaction when Brak tells Thundercleese his powers were turned back on due to the threat of an oncoming meteor.
  • 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.
  • Only Sane Man: Mom, 99% of the time.
  • Out of Focus: In "Feud", Brak and Zorak are completely absent until they suddenly show up in a tank near the end.
  • 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).
  • Pinocchio Nose: In "Dinner Party", Franklin's nose keeps growing every time he lies. Nobody seems to notice.
  • [Popular Saying], But...:
    Brak: It's like I say, When Life Gives You Lemons...... blow those lemons to bits with your laser cannons!
  • 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?
      Zorak: (Looking into the camera) Watch The Powerpuff Girls Movie on DVD!
  • Really Fond of Sleeping: Brak. Once he can be heard muttering, "MAN, I love sleeping. I wish I could wake up so I could go back to sleep again."
  • 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.
    • The bulletin board in Brak's bedroom has a 2 Stupid Dogs picture on it.
  • Spin-Off: From Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
  • Stock Footage:
    • From Space Ghost & Dino Boy. One episode used Stock Footage from Huckleberry Hound.
    • Most of Brak and Zorak's animation were actually recycled from the "Brak Presents the Brak Show Starring Brak" Specials.
  • 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 is a human in a world full of aliens much taller than he is, including Mom and Brak, although he could be a humanoid, given the setting.
  • 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.
  • Wham Line:
    • The show's final line is Brak revealing that the show has been cancelled.
    • Dad's line after the show was canceled.
      Dad: I'm not your father, you can stop calling me "Dad". My name is Javier. And I think I might as well go back to my normal size.
    • 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 Movie.
  • 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.