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Cracked After Hours by humon Cracked After Hours by humon

From left to right: Soren, Dan, Michael, Katie, and Cody from "Cracked After Hours" (And possibly "Today's Topic". The two series seem to take place in the same universe, though Cody would need some explaining)

I always watched the videos without thinking too hard about it and just listening to their stupid pop culture conversations, but then I stumbled over the fandom and it was pointed out that the characters are implied to have almost soap opera level complex relationships (Michael and Katie having slept with each other, Katie moving on to lusting after Soren but Michael ruining it by trying to turn it into a threesome which scared Soren away, Soren and Dan getting closer, and Katie starting to resent Dan for it because it's heavily implied Dan is bisexual too so Katie might be thinking he's succeeding where she failed, despite Soren being straight and them clearly just being friends)
(EDIT: Turns out the real Daniel O'Brien have said the characters Soren and Daniel are in fact "accidentally falling in love" so ignore everything I said about them just being friends)

The picture is based on the Joss Whedon episode where the running joke that Soren, Michael and Katie doesn't seem to care much about their previous conversations is explained by their memories having been wiped by a shady group of people lead by Cody (he works for shadowy people in Today's Topic too, so they might not notice him being everywhere they go thanks to mind meddling). Dan cares more about them than they seem to care about him because he remembers more, which must be a bit of a nightmare for him considering how one of his biggest fears is for them to leave him.

And to make it even darker Michael has been memory wiped so many times he got brain damaged, and he seems to be aware of it on some level. He gets more intelligent when he gets drunk, he obsesses over alien abductions and having experiments done to him, and in Today's Topic he starts crying and admits to feeling empty and thinking of himself as a sleeping princess waiting for a prince to wake him up. He knows he "isn't all there" and want someone to save him from whatever is being done to him. His attempts at Soren could be because Soren is the closest they have to a classic Disney prince/hero, but unfortunately Soren is under the "spell" too, so Michael won't be getting any help from him.
Their biggest hope is Dan who for some reason isn't being memory wiped, but his self esteem is too low to do anything, and ironically they're making his insecurities worse for seeming like they don't care.

Hell yeah, I just overthought After Hours! How the tables have turned! Humon out! *drops chicken leg in soup*

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:iconazimuthsdigitalart:
AzimuthsDigitalArt Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2015
Cracked is literally the best.
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:iconcatninja89:
CatNinja89 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I love watching Cracked videos, especially After Hours:love:! I can't decide who I like more for the guys, but Katie is my girlLlama Emoji-39 (Eager) [V2].
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:iconelbruces:
elbruces Featured By Owner Edited Aug 24, 2014
The reason for the experiment is that the secret agency C.R.A.C.K.E.D. believes that they can eventually "crack" the code to an immense secret embedded in pop culture.  By drawing enough connections between movies and TV shows, these four will eventually be able to find the formula that's hidden in everything we watch and listen to all around us.  Who put the code there?  We won't know until a future season, but the showrunners have got it all worked out since the beginning.  Maybe it's aliens, maybe another agency we haven't seen yet, perhaps something supernatural, or maybe someone else entirely.  Another important question is the significance of the code they're trying to crack.  Obviously it contains an incredibly important secret, which is why C.R.A.C.K.E.D. wants it so badly.

We'll also see through flashbacks how C.R.A.C.K.E.D. identified these four as perfect for the experiment and how they brought their lives together in seemingly normal ways before beginning the "After Hours" project sequence loop.  The entire diner is holographically generated, including the waitstaff.  Notice how they never seem to get upset when Michael inevitably makes a big mess on the table.  They never get kicked out, no matter how much they fling and splash their food around, or how often they loudly blurt out uncomfortable (and often insulting) phrases.  In fact, our four heroes are actually strapped to tables in a lab, with their brains hooked into a computer system that's trying to goad them into searching through every possible Star Wars and ALF reference for the ultimate code to... something.  Something big.

The title "After Hours" itself is a clue to the time-looping, cyclical nature of the project, and a hint that eventually they'll break out of it and have to go on the run, pursued by agent Cody and his "crack" team of investigators and agents.  If you can find it, also check out the old show "Agents of C.R.A.C.K.E.D." (that's right, Marvel actually stole the show title idea from them) for some surprising backstory on Michael and Dan's history as former investigators for the agency themselves, before their initial mind wipe.  How they got from there to here has yet to be filled in, but it'll be exciting to see.  They've been laying the groundwork story on this for a long time - that prequel series debuted in 2009.
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:iconreinedescanards:
ReineDesCanards Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2015  Professional General Artist
Wooooow thanks a lot for this huge explanation! Can't wait for the story to progress on screen!
Reply
:iconwarriorngoddess:
WarriorNGoddess Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014  Professional Writer
I like this show.  My favorite is that softy geek Dan!  Love!
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:iconshazzbaa:
Shazzbaa Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Okay first off, I love your caricatures of them, they are spot-on and all capture their personalities really well -- Mike and Dan ESPECIALLY are just SO on-point, you can recognise Mike without anyone telling you it's supposed to be After Hours. I'm really impressed how your minimal style captured them so well!

Secondly, your commentary: This makes me REALLY happy, because I've also been watching the episodes trying to figure out how they all know each other and what their relationships are (I've come to the conclusion that Dan is actually kind of the centre of their relationship -- it's obvious in the Twilight episode that Michael and Soren don't know each other well enough to carry on a conversation alone, whereas Mike and Dan are clearly pre-existing friends - he was invited to Dan's thanksgiving party, Dan keeps up with Mike's medication apparently, etc. -- and based on Soren being the one who gets Dan's email recaps, it seems they knew each other as well or were at least sort of friends through work -- whereas Katie probably she once dated Mike and met the others through him.) THE CONNECTION OF MICHAEL'S ALIEN OBSESSION with him being the most brain-wiped is startlingly perfect, I love it.

ALSO I DID NOT KNOW THE REAL DAN HAS SAID THIS, A FANGIRL SOMEWHERE INSIDE ME IS SHRIEKING, WHEN DID HE SAY THIS? THAT IS AMAZING. Did you see where someone pointed out that they swapped clothes once? There was a jacket that's established as being Soren's, later Dan is seen wearing the same jacket. (Real-Soren responded by saying he's happy to lend his buddy a jacket when he gets cold).

TL;DR thank you for overthinking this series, I hadn't run into the fandom myself and this makes me awfully happy.
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:icontalic-os:
TaliC-os Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
HUAHAUHAUA xDDDDDd OMG! Overthinking After Hours is just great. It is like overthinkingception xDDD After Hours is great, btw. Thanks for letting me know about it.

And I ship Soren and Daniel, so it is really cool to know Daniel O'Brien said that the characters are "accidentally falling in love" =x
Reply
:iconhinatagem:
hinatagem Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014
Aaaaa Did you see that Cracked uploaded this picture onto their Tumblr?! With proper citation of course. 
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:iconmanikai:
manikai Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I'miss confused.. I love the hell out of AH, but even after this episode it never occurred to me that there might have been any *gasp* plot?
Reply
:iconteddybears-butterfly:
TeddyBears-Butterfly Featured By Owner May 14, 2014  Student Writer
Yes! I can explain Cody, if he's secretly watching the crew to see if they're a threat to humanity or it's salvation.
I'm so happy to finally see some Cracked fan stuff. And I thought you couldn't get any cooler.
Reply
:iconsapphire-ink:
Sapphire-Ink Featured By Owner May 8, 2014
I already love After Hours (and Soren...oh beautiful Soren *ahem*), and I figured something weird was going on after the mind wipe was revealed. But this... this I could never have fathomed! Thank you for making After Hours even better! And I don't know why but it makes me really excited to know that one of my fave artists is in the same fandom as me :)
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:iconcharacterless:
characterless Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I would very much like to know where is all that info from... 
Like Soren saying  that Soren and Dan are accidentaly falling in love... ? 
Reply
:iconhumon:
humon Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014
Not Soren, Daniel. It's from his tumblr.
Though in the recent episode Dan is wearing a hoodie Soren wore in an earlier episode, and when people asked why, Soren explained it on his tumblr as their characters being adorable little shits. Apparently Dan sometimes forgets his jacket and gets cold, so Soren takes off his hoodie for Dan to wear.
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:iconcharacterless:
characterless Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Yeah, I actually found it and went ahead and asked him about it. He never wrote back but that's fine. 
Do you remember by any chance which Today's Topic was with Swaim crying? 
I'd like to watch that one. 
Oh by the way, Soren just reblogged this picture on TUMBLR. 
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:iconcharacterless:
characterless Featured By Owner May 1, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I just found my answer :D www.cracked.com/video_18445_ho…
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:iconoogawege:
oogawege Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2014
I, uh, can't concentrate on what you're saying, heh...Swaim keeps touching your food...
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:icongiftedelements:
GiftedElements Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2014  Student Writer
holy **** I never thought those videos could ever be thought about that deeply. wow. o_o impressive
Reply
:iconwingedpeach:
WingedPeach Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014
ACCURATE
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:iconlilly1125:
Lilly1125 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014
Awesome picture! I got so worried after that joss whedon ep because i don't want my after hour babies hurt >.<
Also where did you find out that Dan said character soren and dan are falling in love?? I really want to know!! 
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:iconhumon:
humon Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014
On his tumblr. It was in response to someone saying they liked how Soren and Dan look at each other.
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:iconlilly1125:
Lilly1125 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014
Just thought you should know the new after hours video is out on cracked.com and it scary cause theres a small part where they mention dan thinking that they are all figments of his imagination >.< and it reminded me of your picture
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:iconkitsunenekotigi:
KitsuneNekoTigi Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love their show!  It's so fun~
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:iconnightlamor:
NightLamor Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014
...Hold on, there is a fandom of After Hours? And there is all levels of complexity I'm not aware of? I need to go back to the beginning and watch again. I usually had it as background noise...
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:iconhumon:
humon Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2014
Besides what I listed, a relationship worth looking out for is Dan and Michael apparently being childhood/family friends. Soren and Michael doesn't seem to have much of a relationship, so it appears Michael and Dan started out as the center of the whole thing, then Michael brought his ex Katie to the table and Dan brought his best friend/future lover(?) Soren along. 

Sorry. I just love this kind of story telling where you have to piece it together from what the characters themselves allow you to see.
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:iconnightlamor:
NightLamor Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2014
This is absolutely fascinating.
Reply
:icontwilarose:
Twilarose Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014  Student Writer
I love you... like so much right now! I friggen love Cracked!!!
Reply
:icontophtheblindbandit:
tophtheblindbandit Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
you have no idea how much i love you right now :D
Reply
:iconforbiddenobsession:
ForbiddenObsession Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014
AHHHHHHHH YUSS this is brilliant o3o
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:iconmibbi:
Mibbi Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I love it! 
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:icongetoutofmyface:
getoutofmyface Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014
Awwww! I love After Hours! It's so cool you are a fan too!
Reply
:iconpacificislandergirl:
PacificIslanderGirl Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014  Student Filmographer
lol cool
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:iconphoto-ninja:
photo-ninja Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014
... that never, ever, occurred to me ... 
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:icontakimashou:
Takimashou Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I LOVE YOU YOU ARE AMAZING OMG.
I'm sorry. but really. How do you even. I don't. what. please don't ever stop doing what you do.

Haven't they addressed memory wipes in an after hours thing before? They have.
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:iconwanderer619:
Wanderer619 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014
Cool :)
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:iconbrizo83:
brizo83 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014
Cracked, Dan and Soren have all reblogged this on their tumblr blogs.

thisdanobrien.tumblr.com/post/…
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:iconthewhitealbum:
TheWhiteAlbum Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
...............There's a fandom?
Reply
:iconaurelias-regalia:
Aurelias-Regalia Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Professional Artist
That, that was stupid awesome right there!  :D
Reply
:iconmixusup:
mixusup Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Student General Artist
cracked! (DOES A HAPPY DANCE)

on a separate note:
are you ever gonna sell more of those animal relationship books?
Reply
:iconouranharrypotterfan9:
OuranHarryPotterfan9 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014
oh wow cracked!! one of my fav websites and after hours is easily the best video series its so funny. really awesome that you drew this lovely fanart of them wow not gonna lie i never really read that much into the romantic/creepy subplots. i mean i noticed them but thought they were more for comedic effect than an ongoing storyline
love it all the same :) 
Reply
:iconakatsukifandom4evuh:
AkatsukiFandom4evuh Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014
at first I was just extremely giddy to see you watch Cracked After Hours and then I read that whole description and I've really got to get further into this stuff!

Everything about this picture and description is beautiful
Reply
:iconj4b:
J4B Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That was a lot of thoughts put into that description.
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:iconxbloodkittyx:
xBloodkittyx Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Student General Artist
ČJesse..
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:iconsnakesonastarship:
SnakesOnAStarship Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
You absolutely capture Swaim's character in that expression. ADORABLE!!!!!!!!!
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:iconfreetalkn657:
freetalkn657 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
Best. <3
Reply
:iconhelpilostmyeraser:
HelpILostMyEraser Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
YAAAY! I thought I was the only one who loved this show so much!!!
Reply
:iconkthies15:
kthies15 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
1. HOLY CRAP, YOU WATCH AFTER HOURS TOO?!?! OwO
2. that's quite the overthought of after hours, but it seems interesting nonetheless :)
Reply
:iconkettlemase:
KettleMase Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Student Digital Artist
woah i think the background of the bottom pic just makes the whole thing awesome!!!!
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:iconaugustphotos:
AugustPhotos Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Love that show! Well done.
Reply
:iconirina1492:
irina1492 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
You-what-how-where do you come up with this??!!!
Teach me, wise woman We Are Not Worthy - NaNoEmo Day 3 
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:iconangelblack3:
angelblack3 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Student Writer
O my gosh you have upgraded this show to all new levels of awesome and I /love/ it.
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