Cracked: After Hours is a casual argument between fanboy/girl friends taken to logical and logistical extremes.

The second season of the original web series from Cracked and its parent company Demand Media debuted earlier this month and provides viewers with its familiar, critical take on iconic video game, movie, and/or comic book characters by way of sometimes witty, other times aggressive, and all times insightfully geeky conversation. The season opener, for instance, discusses whether or not Mario, every child of the NES Generation’s favorite Italian plumber, is actually a complete d-bag.

The program features a foursome comprised of Craked regulars – Dan O’Brien, Katie Willert, Michael Swaim, and Soren Bowie – who sit around a table at the Los Feliz Cafe in Los Angeles, and serve up dialogue over cutaways to quick clips, photos, and/or short animated scenes, which further articulare their arguments. The online original is a simple reminder that clever convos and interesting visuals can make for an entertaining series.

By the end of the first episode, I found myself verbally agreeing with some of the Cracked crew’s points. (Read: I Yyelled “Yes!” and “Uh-huh!” at my computer screen when I thought someone made a good argument. E.g. How Bowser is more accomplished than Mario. After all, the King of the Koopas does own and maintain no less than seven castles.)

Created by Dan and Jack O’Brien, the fast paced dialogue and camaraderie of After Hours is obviously reminiscent of the nerdy banter in Clerks, but it also has hints of FX’s The League. Both series manage fantastic dialogue that’s really only believable because you feel the characters involved have a solid relationship. The foursome bicker about pop culture topics and give each other hell, but you can tell it’s with love.

If you are a fan of pop culture, debate teams, and things nerdy, then I highly recommend checking out Cracked: After Hours for taste of geeky goodness. However, you may not look at some iconic characters the same way after watching. Here’s Dan’s take on the program may change your outlook on characters from your adolescence:

One of the things I love to do in After Hours is show the audience something familiar in a completely new way. In the case of the Super Mario Bros. episode, we’re taking the character of the heroic, princess-rescuing, monster-slaying Mario, (the familiar), and holding him under a microscope and highlighting the ways in which he’s behaved, at best, like a jerk, and at worst, like a total villain. Using only the evidence given to us in the games, and without resorting to speculation, we get to present Mario in a brand new, completely unfavorable light.

I jump on any opportunity to make our audience say ‘Huh, I never thought of it that way. But now that I think about it, yes you’ve ruined a beloved childhood hero of mine.’

I’m on Team Bowser now.


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