Monday, January 30, 2012

Adult Swim Historama: The Brak Show (2001)

In the 60's, Brak was one of Space Ghost's most difficult enemies, a fierce space pirate (voiced by the inestimable Keye Luke, who went uncredited). To look at him today, on the other hand........!

Brak has become a cult favorite, thanks to the twisted minds at Williams St. Studios (formerly Ghost Planet Productions), which added Brak to the Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast companion series, Cartoon Planet. Andy Merrill gave Brak a goofier voice that bordered at times on a near-mimic of the late comedian, Don Knotts. I kid you not! Brak's role on Planet came down to singing some silly songs and coming up with some whimsical commentaries, which we've previously sampled in reviewing Planet.

After starring in a pair of specials, both carrying the same title (The Brak Show Starring Brak), the now-lovable ex-con was granted a regular, 15 minute series on [adult swim] in 2001. The Brak Show was designed as a parody of classic sitcoms, and the episode titles reflected this by parodying the titles of those shows (example: "Leave it to Brak"). The absurdity of it all was that Brak and his mom had relocated to Earth and settled down with a human who was about half their size. To try to suggest that the human was Brak's biological pop wouldn't make the least bit of sense. Zorak crossed over from Coast-to-Coast, essentially being Brak's reluctant sidekick. The idea is that, well, if Brak is Beaver Cleaver, then Zorak would be Eddie Haskell. Enough said.

I remember writing that 15 minutes just wasn't enough time. There wasn't much to the plot, and the gags came flying past, perhaps a little too quickly for some folks to pick up on the joke.

MadmanOnline uploaded this sample clip:


Out of [adult swim]'s initial class, The Brak Show was actually the best of the lot, because in an odd way, it made some semblance of sense. Well, let me put it another way. If you could understand the wacky humor of the Monty Python troupe, you'd probably get where these guys were going with their gags. Sadly, the show isn't on the air much anymore, as [as] now relies more on repurposing shows like Fox's Family Guy & American Dad, both from the wacky world of Cartoon Network alumnus Seth MacFarlane, and imported Japanese anime, which has been a staple of [as] from the beginning. Personally, I'd rather see a Brak marathon than sit through one of either of MacFarlane's shows, but that's just me.

Rating: B+.

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