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Arby 'n' The Chief is a comedic Live Action Puppeteering/Machinima series created by Jon Graham (formerly known as "DigitalPh33r"), who also produced Deus Ex Machina. The focus of the series is based around figurines based on Bungie and Microsoft's Halo series coming to life when their owner is out. As the title suggests, the main characters are based on Master Chief (a Leet Lingo-speaking Jerkass whose only concern is how much he "pwns" in any given game, something that he is completely incapable of actually doing) and the Arbiter (a Deadpan Snarker who often acts as the voice of reason to the Chief's mindless ranting). One of the unique features of the series is that many of the characters actually speak through a PC voice synthesizer, instead of acted voice-overs. The series is based on Graham's previous shorts, Master Chief Sucks At Halo, where the series' trademarks (including synthesized voice-overs and the Chief's personality) were developed. This is the show that has made Graham a internet wide phenomenon, rivaling Rooster Teeth in popularity.

The original series initially ended after the third season with a six-part finale, "Endgame". The finale led to a spin-off, Arby 'n' the Chief in LA, produced entirely by Machinima.com with minimal input from Graham. After a break from the series, Graham announced a fourth season of Arby 'n' the Chief in 2010, which takes place before "Endgame" and the LA spinoff. This was followed by a fifth season in early 2011, and a sixth season in mid 2011. A seventh season has been announced and premiered in early 2012.

Tropes appearing in this series:

Method

    • After Season 5 finished, the mail slot has spun off into its own show - Arby 'n' the Chief: Hypermail
  • Hand Wave: Only a mild one in Endgame. Scott has seen Arbiter and Chief moving around and talking, why is this not an issue?

 Arbiter: He's convinced we're hallucinations brought on by his constant substance abuse

Scott: What the hell? You guys aren't supposed to appear until after my fourth coke sandwich!

  Arbiter: Fuck 3D.

  Arbiter: A few of you obsessive types are probably now scampering to your Xboxes to register the gamertag "assassininja4827", "assninja4827" or some other slight variation. No one will be impressed. Just wanted to call you douchebags out on that beforehand. Owned.

    • In fact, Todd, Travis, and Cortana's deaths seemed like this.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: pretty much everything Chief does, but espcially the penis drawing contest.


Characters

See also the character sheet.

  • Abusive Parents: Kylie's motive for working with Chaos Theosis was so that she'd have enough money to leave home because of her abusive father.
  • Affably Evil: Trent Donnovich, despite his portrayal as a Corrupt Corporate Executive in the first episode and a harsh first meeting with Arbiter, later tries to make friends with him and invites him to the wedding "church".
    • The hacker Duncan in season 6 seems to qualify so far.
  • Arch Nemesis: The closest thing to an antagonist the series has is obnoxious video game players, but if anyone could be called the Arch Nemesis it would be Scott from 'Endgame' story.
    • Trent Donnovich appears to be fulfilling the role in season 5.
      • He's pretty much Arbiter's absolute arch nemesis now. Aside from what he did in season 5, he put Arbiter into a depression for 4 months, and turned out to be the Big Bad of Season 6 as well. He's also the only human character aside from love interest Claire, and the Scott and Boris Smirnoff characters from Endgame that know that Arbiter is a toy.
    • Adam appears to be Arbiter's arch nemesis now, especially considering that he fragged Claire.
  • Author Avatar: Arbiter, and Jon has already admitted to it; this has not, however prevented many instances of Author Filibuster from occurring. (Though they have become more rare as of late.)
    • Amazingly, Chief has also become this in some recent episodes, seeming to embody Jon's wild, silly, artistic, and emotional side while Arbiter embodies his logical thought, controlled behaviour, and cynicism. But how much Chief channels Graham and how much he is of his classic stupid self vaires from episode to episode.
  • Badass Bystander: One player in Cradle to Grave maintains a calm personality despite being threatened by Adam, and later refuses to obey him.
  • Badass Longcoat: subverted for Agent Smirnoff, who is actually a quite clumsy person.
  • Badass Crew: Parodied with Chief's "n00bz". Everyone of them is an insanely bad Halo player and they all are beaten easily by Arbiter in the last part of the episode. Not to mention Chief says the exact point of them to is use exploits, which hurts their awesomeness significantly.
  • Big Bad: Trent Donnovich now counts as the big bad for both Season 5 and Season 6.
  • Catch Phrase: The Chief has "NO U", among other things.

 Arbiter: LOL, remember Chief?

Chief: HAY. thats mai thing arbitur. u cant use mai thing. remember. remember its mien. lol remember arbitur?

Arbiter: LOL, I remember Chief.

Chief: LOL. ur so silly.

Arbitur: I know, LOL.

Chief: LOL

    • FREEZE / TOSERS / GET DOWN ON THE FUKCING GROUND
  • Characterization Marches On: most noticeable with Chief - he used to be simply a Small Name, Big Ego Fan Dumb Ditz, but then he started realizing that he is not as good at Halo as he previously thought. And he has recently got a tiny grasp of sarcasm (not that he makes use of it very frequently). His relationship with Arbiter has been changing over time, too. See also Author Avatar above.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The thirteen year old TOSER applicant
    • An example in Season 5 is the player Chief met in "Time Wasters" and other earlier episodes who called him out for being bad at Halo. In the penultimate episode he turns out to be a member of an organization of underground hackers and takes Arbiter and Chief to the organization after they got kicked from the server that Trent and Claire's wedding is taking place in.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Arbiter
  • Disc One Final Boss: Clyde in "Severance".
  • The Dragon: Trent's sisters in season 5.
    • And then Clyde to Trent again.
  • Evil Counterpart: Arbiter's evil counterpart is the Leader of Chaos Theosis (both play as Elites in Halo multiplayer) and Chief's evil counterpart would probably be Adam who is also a member of Theosis.
  • The Faceless: "Jon", the owner of all the action figures. Onscreen only twice, and even then, we never saw his face. Also Skylar Loveheart (also played by Graham).
    • Until Endgame when he played Scott, but even then his face was covered by a large afro and sunglasses (though he takes them off at the end)
  • Fan Dumb: in-universe - Master Chief is a parody of the Unpleasable Fanbase of Halo.
  • Funny Afro: Scott sports one.
  • Gamer Chick; The Chick: Cortana
  • Giant Spider: The finale of season four introduces one, which even terrifies arachnophobe viewers.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: In Severance, the twelfth episode of Season 6, Kylie and Clyde were fragged, disbanding Chaos Theosis. However, by signing into Clyde's account using his password, Arbiter and Chief find out that Trent Donnovich, Season 5's Big Bad was behind the entire thing.
  • Immune to Drugs: Scott eats cocaine sandwiches.
  • Jerkass: Master Chief
    • Arbiter too. But then again, it's Jon.
    • And Travis, to a lesser extent than Chief.
    • Trent Donnovich makes Chief look like a decent human being action figure.
      • Subverted in Trent's case during the second half of the fifth season. He's actually rather friendly, although it remains to be seen whether he's genuinely nice or if it's just a gambit to gain Arbiters trust.
    • Craig.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Arbiter. It pops up every now and then, but is most noticable in season 5. His "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Trent Donnovich pretty much sums up what this trope is all about.
  • Leet Lingo: Chief's entire vocabulary.
  • Living Toys: The premise.
  • The Mole: Silent Strike
  • Nietzsche Wannabe:
    • Arguably FEELS GOOD MAN in "King".
    • In season 5 Trent Donnovich, as demonstrated with his "sinking ship" analogy.
  • Odd Couple: the eponymous characters.
    • Not to mention Chief's temporary crush on Cortana. Their personalities are the weird part.
  • Oddly Small Organization The clan of hackers that will be the main antagonists of season six seem to only have four members, according to the trailer and Jon's blog at least.
  • Oh Crap: Chief's usual reaction to Arbiter's rage.
  • Only Sane Man: Inverted, as the Chief is the only really odd character.
    • Or actually zig-zagged for Arbiter: characters of common sense comparable to him come and go, as do Chief-alikes.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Chief. How else do you explain him destroying a Call of Duty 4 disc just to spite Arbiter?
    • Adam in Season Six. Holy fucking shit. Technically, he doesn't qualify for the 'man' part of this trope, but absolutely everything else fits him to a tee.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Chief LOVES this.
  • The Speechless: Greg, who can't talk due to being a spider writes on sticky notes to communicate.
  • Stealth Hi Bye: Greg LOVES doing this to scare Chief and Arbiter, it helps that he's a Uncanny Valley spider toy.
  • Straight Man: The Arbiter
  • Synthetic Voice Actor: the eponymous characters and Cortana. This is constantly Lampshaded in season 5, even to the point of Deconstruction.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: In "Severance", Kylie gets two bodyguards because Chaos Theosis is down to only two members.
  • Troll: Chief.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Arby and the Chief are this trope.


Plot and events

 Chief: MAI SEXAY PRONZ!11!one!

  Chief: god damit this gaem is gay [[[Beat]]] wen is teh sec0nd 1 cumign out

  • Bittersweet Ending: Season 5. Jon's Xbox is permanently banned, cutting Chief and Arbiter off from online gaming and social interaction, but Trent is defeated, Arbiter and Claire are still friends and even though Greg's in hiding, at least he is still around.
  • Brick Joke: In Episode 6, Brawl, Chief gives Arbiter a hug just to put a sign that says "im stuped" on his back. Arbiter doesn't know about this until the end of the episode.
    • And then it happened again in the movie.
      • And, to make it a true Brick Joke, another hug occurs in the fourth episode of Hypermail. And both characters end up getting signs on their backs.
  • Bus Crash: Happens with Travis, Scott and Cortana.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: During a Halo 3 match between Chief and professional gamer Craig, Craig notices he has a hard-on and goes at it while Chief is temporarily distracted from the match. Craig, however, gets caught in the act by his parents, and the ensuing confusion on his side allows the normally incompetent Chief to win the match.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The typo Trent makes in Season 5.
    • In the 10th episode of Season 4 "Night of the evading dead", Chief wakes up Arbiter by telling him there's a big spider next him, implying that he has arachnophobia. In the finale, a giant spider appears in Jon's house, and this becomes an important plot point.
  • Enemy Mine: It appears that Arby and Chief are cooperating with Cameron and Cody to survive the hackers attack on the application match
  • Final Boss Preview: Arguably the matches against the two security guards count as this.
  • Gainax Ending: of season 5, the mind screwing part being another synthesized voice (Microsoft Mary, previously used for Cortana) waking up Arbiter.
    • Which turns out to be an incredibly cruel prank by Chief.
  • Heroic BSOD: Arbiter during Season 6. 4 months and counting.
    • He's showing signs of coming out of it though
  • He's Back: Not a character, but Chief's foot, which he cut off and was given back to him as christmas present by Arbiter, who apparently repaired it. Chief tries to invoke this trope, but ends up just as fail as he always is. It's also symbolic of the series returning to it's post "Endgame" glory.
  • Ironic Echo: "Play to win".
  • Killed Off for Real: Not "killed" per say but one of the security guards from the wedding gets fragged during the application match. The other one makes it out though.
    • He made a brief reappearance in the attack on TOSER's HQ where he fought along side his friend on split screen before both of them were fragged. Also Claire was also fragged during the attack too, in a way that arguably is a Moral Event Horizon for Adam.
    • In Endgame, Scott literally gets killed. Also, at the end of Season 3, Cortana, Todd and Travis all got killed.
  • Lemon Wacky Hello: Chief getting high from smoking cereal. Lampshaded by Arbiter stating that cereal doesn't have hallucinogenic properties.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Chief when he fights Travis.

 Chief: k k stop sotp stpo. i surendir. JK LOL

 Todd and Travis then had their butts made love to by a big gay outer space alien that looked suspiciously like Jon's chin and were later eaten alive.

As the alien had no desire for females, Cortana was later thrown into an escape pod and fired directly into the center of an alien sun.

[[[Beat]]]

Happy?

 Chief: HOLEH MUTHR OF GOD. L@@K OTU. ITS TEH COVERNINT.

    • And with Arbiter.

 Chief: OMG LOOK AT ALL THE HORRIBLE THINGS OVER THERE

  • Let's Get Dangerous: In preparation for the wedding, Chief and Arbiter meet a group of console modders who help them to bypass Trent's ban on them, give them various cheats including unlimited ammo and the ability to make all the fusion coils at the wedding explode, and guns and melee attacks that result in a console ban and all of the victim's personal information being stolen.
  • Rasputinian Death: Scott takes A LOT of bullets to bring down. Lampshaded by the Chief

 Why won't this faggot just die?

 Chief: O RLY?

Arbiter: Yeah.

Chief: hawt / dos she hav boobz?/

Arbiter: I would assume so, Chief...

Chief: COOL / H1GH FIEV

[[[Beat]]]

Arbiter: ...No.

Chief: coem on / dun leev a brothar hanging

Arbiter: What the hell is up with you today? Are you high?

Chief: on lief, arbitur / on lief

  Arbiter: It's all I need.

  • Tempting Fate: A rare example where things actually get better for the person that tempts fate.

  Arbiter: We're going to need a miracle.

 Chief: put them all on

Arbiter: Settle down, Chief. I mean most of the visual effects ARE cool and all, but some are made entirely for Machinima and it's impossible to see with them turned on. Playing with them all on would be fucking stupid. What kind of ignoramus would do that? Who, Chief? Who, I ask you? Who?

(Ten minutes later...)

  Arbiter: It doesn’t surprise me that a dose of emotion would have a toxic effect on an emotion-deprived cretin like you. Who’s really the plastic one here? Your bleak outlook on life is poisonous. Maybe the world is a big sinking ship. But we can’t accept that as an inevitability and use it as an excuse to act like shitheads. We have to be the change we seek. We have to build something better for ourselves.

  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Claire gives one to Arbiter.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Not exactly but Arby and Chief have been outfitted with weapons that when they kill someone with them, it will result in a console ban and all of the victim's personal information to be stolen.
    • Now that season six has rolled around, the clan of hackers are using these to more or less launch a terrorist campaign.


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