The Brak Show
The Brak Show is an American adult animated sitcom created by Andy Merrill, Jim Fortier, and Pete Smith for Cartoon Network's late-night programming block, Adult Swim. The Brak Show serves as a spin-off of the animated television series, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, for which the show's creators originally wrote, and featured recurring characters from Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Cartoon Planet. Both programs used stock footage from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon Space Ghost. The protagonist is Brak, voiced by Merrill, who developed a quirky persona for the character.
|The Brak Show|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||28 (and 1 webisode) (list of episodes)|
|Running time||11 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original release||December 21, 2000 –|
December 31, 2003
May 24, 2007
|Preceded by||Space Ghost Coast to Coast|
|Related shows||Cartoon Planet|
An earlier version of the pilot episode, "Mr. Bawk Ba Gawk", originally aired prior to the official launch of Adult Swim on Cartoon Network on December 21, 2000. The series made its official premiere debut during the night Adult Swim officially launched on September 2, 2001, and ended on December 31, 2003, with a total of 28 episodes. On May 24, 2007, a webisode for the series was released on Adult Swim Video, ending the series.
The Brak Show was preceded by two specials, both titled Brak Presents the Brak Show Starring Brak. Despite the similarities in the titles, the two Brak Shows have very little in common. The specials parodied variety shows, while the series was a spoof of early sitcoms. Each of the specials aired in the United States only once (in February and March 2000).
The series premiered with a sneak peek unannounced in the early hours of December 21, 2000, along with the "Radio Free Sealab" episode of Sealab 2021. This "stealth" pilot (titled "Leave it to Brak") featured hand-drawn backgrounds and different opening titles. The show's official showing was on Adult Swim's debut on September 2, 2001.
It originally started off as a parody of situation comedies, but just like its sister show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, the plot dissolved over time and became increasingly bizarre. The setting is suburbia with an extra-planetary hint. A Saturn-like planet appears in the background on occasion, and many of the extras are aliens. Often, episodes parody stereotypical episodes of regular sitcoms (e.g. The son showing an interest in women, the dad being reconnected with an old passion, the mother temporarily leaving after a fight, etc.).
The show was canceled in December 2003. However, Adult Swim announced in a bump on October 22, 2006 that The Brak Show would return to production as an internet cartoon on the network's website. On May 24, 2007, a single webisode premiered online, but no further webisodes were produced thereafter.
On August 1, 2008, Adult Swim had a retro night, an all-night marathon of shows featured on Adult Swim in 2001 and 2002. Two of the earlier episodes of The Brak Show were aired during the marathon. The series has since appeared in Adult Swim's "DVR Theater".
- Brak (Andy Merrill) is a sort of anthropomorphic teenage "space cat" with an eccentric personality and a speaking lisp. He is 15 years old, as he attends as a student at Learnmore High School. He is quite silly and unintelligent but with a very sweet and gentle personality, and seems to be a teen adolescent. He still has attachments to stuffed animals but is starting to be attracted to girls. He frequently breaks into impromptu songs, lyrically about events in the episode. The writers use a wide variety of musical styles for the songs — covering jazz, country, show tunes, rap and rock & roll. His closest friend is Zorak, although in return Zorak treats him with open contempt and little respect. Brak's character is derived from his appearances on the Space Ghost Coast to Coast spin-off Cartoon Planet.
- Zorak (C. Martin Croker) is another character from Space Ghost Coast to Coast, a human-sized mantis. On this show, he plays the role similar to that of Eddie Haskell character, who is also a sociopathic, sadistic, morally bankrupt misanthrope. He often hangs out with Brak, but usually only as a way to force him into doing something for his own benefit. Zorak considers himself "above" Brak and his family, and is constantly criticizing and insulting them. Zorak also enjoys bullying Clarence, the neighbourhood nerd. Like Eddie Haskell, he also expresses more than a platonic interest in Brak's Mom.
- Dad (George Lowe) is a small human illegal alien with a Cuban accent, who is extremely self-centred, lazy and nonsensical. Unemployed since 1984, most of his time is spent sitting at the kitchen table and reading the newspaper. An episode seldom goes by without him delivering a moral to the story that is often incoherent or has no relevance to the situation, and typically ends in a non sequitur. Occasionally, he displays prominent womanizing and male-chauvinistic behaviour, which is sometimes rebuked by Brak's mom. In an Adult Swim New Year's Eve bumper in 2003, he revealed his name to be "Javier". He is also extremely incompetent at working a job; during his brief stint working at the ice cream shop in “We Ski in Peace” he tries to take his break immediately after the store opens and shoots the ice cream because “it was about to rob [the ice cream store]”. In the same episode, he was also shown to have a high ranking job in protecting the Earth in a base underneath the house but does so for free. He also cares little for Brak, doing things like using his college funds to buy a ski boat.
- Mom (Marsha Crenshaw in episodes 1–14 and the webisode, Joanna Daniel in episodes 15–28): a creature of the same "species" as Brak, with the fashions of a housewife character on a 1950s sitcom. She is largely the only semi-sane character on the show. She displays little romantic or sexual interest in Brak's father and often does not tolerate him. When she gets drunk, however, she finds him suddenly irresistible. As voiced by Crenshaw, she is most often an homage to June Cleaver and similar motherly characters, with occasional hints of discontent with her husband's laziness and sexism. When Daniel took over the role, Brak's mother inexplicably acquired a British accent and became far more open in her discontent with domestic life and her annoyance with and disdain for Brak's father. Her change in accent has been commented upon several times on the show.
- Thundercleese (Carey Means): Brak's next-door-neighbour, a militant Killbot (with the visual appearance of a Gundam or a similar anime-style robot) who is also passionate about his lawn and garden, particularly the gnomes that decorate it. A short-lived shtick on the show involved Thundercleese blasting Zorak often. He is very aggressive and warlike, always speaking in a loud, robotic monotone. When Brak is troubled, no matter what the problem is, Thundercleese invariably suggests swift and brutal retaliation. Thundercleese's social skills are rather lacking, and before social get-togethers, he will study very bad "party jokes" in preparation. Thundercleese's creator is claimed to be MoroccoBotix, in an episode of the series, which contradicts a special 2003 New Year's Eve event on Adult Swim in 2003, where it was revealed that Aqua Teen Hunger Force's Frylock created him, which is the in-universe reason for their similar voices.
- Clarence (Andy Merrill): a chubby purple alien and schoolmate of Brak's at Learnmore High School. He was a supporting character on the show who made more regular appearances towards the end of the series. Clarence is socially awkward and idolizes Brak. His constant talking often annoys those around him, and when faced with an extremely stressful situation he will wear his mother's sundress and bonnet for comfort. In a rap contest, he revealed that he dearly misses his father, who left them for unknown reasons. In this same contest, he also noted that his mom has since married a man named Gary, whom he does not like. Many of his appearances end with him being maimed, usually by Zorak.
- Sisto: Brak's brother, and Dad and Mom's other son. He is mostly red-coloured. In early episodes, he would make random appearances walking across the scene farting. He was killed by aliens in "Pepper". A scratch-sniff card of him was shown in the episode "Sexy New Brak Show Go".
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||9||December 21, 2000||December 2, 2001|
|2||11||April 14, 2002||December 29, 2002|
|3||8||October 5, 2003||December 31, 2003|
|Webisode||May 24, 2007|
The first 14 episodes were released on DVD on February 1, 2005, and the remaining episodes were released on August 8, 2006. In addition to being available on DVD, The Brak Show is also available on iTunes.
|DVD Name||Release Date||Ep
|Volume One||February 1, 2005||14||This two-disc box set contains the first 14 episodes of The Brak Show in production order. Bonus features include commentaries on two episodes, a never-produced pilot for a radio version of the show, the Brak Presents the Brak Show Starring Brak special, a few segments from Cartoon Planet, and a few "Easter eggs".|
|Volume Two||August 8, 2006||This two-disc box set contains the final 14 episodes of The Brak Show in production order. There are no bonus features. For this set, Cartoon Network abandoned their usual digipak packaging design in favour of a more traditional Amaray-style keep case.|
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- "DVR Theater". Adultswim.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
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- "The Brak Show, Vol. 2: Don Kennedy, Pete Smith (II), Jim Fortier: Movies & TV". Retrieved 2011-01-20.
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