Judge Dennis Prince says that "Brak" spelled sideways is "Krap." If it doesn't make sense to you, it doesn't matter because nobody on this disc cares about you and whatever needy-needy tendencies you might have.
For everything that originally made The Brak Show work, well, that's all gone now because this is [adult swim] Brak and he's not interested in your continued delight as much as he's committed to make his show as offbeat and irrelevant as anything on TV—sometimes more. Really, he just wants that twenty-five bucks in your wallet, butt-ass.
When The Brak Show first aired in 2000 as a spinoff of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, a borrowed property from the 1960s Space Ghost, it all seemed to work. No longer confined to the talk show studio of Ghost Planet where he existed only as a dimwitted butt of everyone's insensitive jokes, here Brak headlined his own show where he could realize his true talents…as a dimwitted butt of everyone's insensitive jokes. But it was his show, dammit, and that has to count for something!
Or maybe it was just a thinly veiled attempt to give Dawson's Creek a run for its money. I think so.
So Brak (Andy Merrill) lived in a tiny dollhouse filled with tiny furniture, tiny cups and saucers, a tiny dad (George Lowe), and average-sized mom (formerly Marsha Crenshaw, replaced by Joanna Daniel). Adrift somewhere in the space behind his eyes, Brak was your normal cheery space pirate who lived a happily deluded life where he performed in talent shows, cared for mascot chickens, and endured the physical and emotional assaults of his bestest friend, Zorak (C. Martin Croker). Credit the nurturing of his loving mom for his somewhat adjusted well being despite the incessant and irrelevant jousts with his unemployed and undersized Latin dad.
Yes, it was a sure-fire recipe for success of the most unbridled sort. So where did it all go wrong?
Somewhere between the second and third seasons of the originally aired episodes (they're only 15-minutes in length because, truly, who among us could conceivably withstand the depth and introspection of a family comedy like this, the sort that hasn't been seen since Diff'rent Strokes), dysfunction entered the Brak home like a gaseous cloud of swirling green vapor that isn't so much toxic as much as it is intoxicating. And then the laughter stopped. Dad became harsher and began to upstage the once-adorable Brak; Thundercleese, the warring automaton next door, was less inclined to constructive criticism and self examination, and Mom became British. It sounds like another of Zorak's evil plans, but even the sadistic mantis was relegated to just another stock character. The "fun" had been replaced by "funk" (and not the good kind). While Dad still spewed a litany of unusual observations and allegations, the show just fell flat.
Maybe, new character Clarence was more diabolical than his glob-like purple persona suggested.
Yes, Clarence (Andy Merrill) appeared in the first episode on this second volume, "New Brak." His intentions were clear: he immersed himself in all things Brak, literally praising the two-dimensional ground our hero stumbled across. Ultimately, the slurring slug thing with a hyperactive imagination and tendency to incessant prattling donned a Brak uniform and went so far as to host his own Brak show. Where did Clarence come from? Nobody knows, but he, too, stole camera time away from the titular hero and was likely the result of an inside joke that nobody gets except the folks at Williams Street studios. He might make more sense after a few stiff drinks, but I doubt it.
If you're a Brak enthusiast—and believe me, Mr. and Mrs. America, when I say I am—you'll likely be saddened with this disc, much as you were when your puppy left you one day and didn't leave a forwarding address or even a final lawn loaf to let you know if he ever really cared. This disc has 14 episodes that look like Brak, even sound like Brak, but just don't make you laugh like Brak. These are culled from the second half of the 2002 season and the whole of the 2003 airings. They have titles like this:
• New Brak
With episode names like that, it would seem a shoe-in that hearty laughs would ensue, but they never do, much like the irritating sneeze that at first tickles your nose but never gives you the final satisfaction of the big payoff "CHOO!" It's just a tease. Of course, the episodes look good, with plenty of rich color and razor sharp details, further adding to your entertainment agony when they fail to deliver that feel-good feeling that you paid good money for. Even the audio track, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, tantalizes you with the familiar knee-flexing Brak theme, but so what?
So if not the shows, then how about the extras? The first volume was brimming with bonus goodies to keep you easily in stitches. On this disc, there ARE NO EXTRAS! What do you think about that, mister? Ha ha! They fooled you again and are laughing even at the moment they cash your personal check for $24.98 plus tax (two forms of picture ID, please). It's a complete screw job of the flat, round, and shiny silvery kind.
If you enjoy Brak like so many other discerning animation aficionados, you'll enjoy The Brak Show—Volume 1 and you should watch it now.
But don't watch this one because this is The Brak Show—Volume 2 and it's just crap.
Guilty like you've never seen guilty before (and believe me, I've seen it).
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