STUDIO: Warner Bros.
MSRP: $24.98
RUNNING TIME: 154 Minutes
None, darn it.

The Pitch

like Mister
Rogers’ Neighborhood
having a quiet dinner with Luis Buñuel."

The Humans

Merrill, C. Martin Croker, George Lowe.

The Nutshell

Space Ghost thunder-stealing alien Brak
(Merrill) gets his own spin-off show, in which he, he disfigured mother, his
diminutive father, and several colorful guests enjoy free-association humor,
spontaneous musical numbers, vague illiteracy, and speech impediments.

You can go with this, or you can go with that.

The Lowdown

either love him or you hate him. Brak brooks no compromise, no sir. Adult
Swim’s strategy since its inception has seemed to follow a course something
like this: create a character of such bizarre personality that he or she
becomes immediately memorable. Then do something else, or, y’know, whatever.
(Of course, the character design of Brak was created ages ago, but his new
personality was a recent invention.)

Me, I
happen to enjoy the comedy stylings of young Brak. I like his expectorant
voice, his occasional flashes of collegiate vocabulary, his endearing unpredictability.
The trouble is there’s nothing particularly objective about any of that. Such
qualities could easily be re-read as: grating voice, pretension of writers, and
lazy scripting. Not really a problem, on its own, but the fact that the show is
built around a structure so flimsy as the whim of the audience makes for uneven

Wow. I haven’t dreamed of M.A.S.K. in ten years.

for the shows that actually feature Brak, of course. From time-to-time, the
anchor of an episode is Brak’s swarthy, unemployed father. What this does is
hinge the show not on one hit-or-miss character, but two.

also something worth observing about the shelf-life of bizarre situations. As
with a number of AS programming, The Brak Show often begins with a
ridiculous plot which it sort of meanders around following for fifteen minutes
before terminating in a credits sequence. The downside of this formula is that
it often tempts writers to slavishly follow their bizarre plot, as though it
were a legitimate one, instead of diving into gleeful free association. The
humor of the show does not fit well even inside the structure of a regular
comedy; its momentum dies completely when they force it through some sort of
arc. (With the notable exception of the episode "Braklet, Prince of Spaceland" which parodies Hamlet beautifully.)

Why sell only to the picnickers, when you can sell to the ants as well?

When the
rapid-fire nonsense amps up, though, the show hums along from laugh-to-laugh
with hardly a stutter. I’m a big fan of irreverence in humor, be it for
religion or coherency or whatever else, and The Brak Show shows a sly
sophistication in the craft, but only rarely. Kinda like how your uncle shows a
bit of sympathy for your headgear, but only when he’s whisky drunk. The show’s
a few years old now, so it kinda stands as an archaeological relic of ADHD
cartoon programming: never as clever nor relentless as Space Ghost, but
possessing its own charm and simple Divining Rod of Quality, thus:

Do you
like Brak? You’ll enjoy most of the The Brak Show. I just wish there
were a bit more substance to support such a potentially fun character.

The Package

Hey, the
art looks cool. Aber… kein bonuses für dich!

6.7 out of 10