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*
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.
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.
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
I'm so happy to finally see some Cracked fan stuff. And I thought you couldn't get any cooler.
Like Soren saying that Soren and Dan are accidentaly falling in love... ?
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.
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.
Also where did you find out that Dan said character soren and dan are falling in love?? I really want to know!!
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.
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.
on a separate note:
are you ever gonna sell more of those animal relationship books?
love it all the same
Everything about this picture and description is beautiful
2. that's quite the overthought of after hours, but it seems interesting nonetheless