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Video Essays

The Legacy of Monty Python

The Legacy of Monty Python

British comedy troupe Monty Python was groundbreaking in its mastery of absurd, self-referential humor, which, as Wisecrack points out, helped lay the groundwork for other post-modernist comedies from South Park, to Rick and Morty, to Deadpool.

Are Spoilers Really Bad?

Are Spoilers Really Bad?

We live in a time when people flinch at even the slightest giveaway of plot points. But does knowing the outcome of a story actually decrease one’s enjoyment of a story, or does it actually enhance the experience? Thomas Flight explores the science of how spoilers affect us.

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Sound in Hanna-Barbera

Sound in Hanna-Barbera

From The Flintstones to Scooby Doo, the cartoons of Hanna-Barbera are as memorable for their characters as they are for their sounds. Patrick Sullivan’s video looks at how limited animation budgets and time forced the use of sound to bring scenes to life.

Children’s Horror of the ’90s

Children’s Horror of the ’90s

Illustrator Zane Whitener recounts how books like Goosebumps cartoons like Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, and and pop culture of the 1990s embraced dark and creepy imagery, and inspired him as a reader, artist, fan, and creative thinker into adulthood.

The Evolution of Computer Speech

The Evolution of Computer Speech

These days, you can’t go more than a few hours without encountering some gadget with a human-sounding voice. The Science Elf provides a concise look at the history of machine-made speech, from early mechanical devices through modern voice assistants like Siri and Alexa.

Why Good Stories Are Good

Why Good Stories Are Good

(PG-13: Language) “Because this is our condition – balancing between animals and gods.” Exurb1a presents his theory about the key to making a good story (particularly a movie). It’s a mix of feelings, pictures, and ideas.

The Story of American Idiot

The Story of American Idiot

Polyphonic summarizes the stories and the overarching tale of Green Day’s 2002 concept album American Idiot. It follows a man who lashes out at society and his family, only to realize too late that he should have taken control of his life.

The Importance of Buckaroo Banzai

The Importance of Buckaroo Banzai

(Spoilers) If you’ve never seen The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, stop what you’re doing right now and watch it. It’s one of our faves. Kyle Kallgren of Brows Held High explains why Buckaroo is so much better than most of today’s superheroes.

Why Cartoons Make Great Satire

Why Cartoons Make Great Satire

There was a time when cartoons were created mostly for kids, but these days, some of the best satire out there turns up in animation. Video essayist Will Schoder opines on why it’s often easier to poke fun at society’s foibles in cartoon form rather than live action.

Where a Gun Begins

Where a Gun Begins

(Gore) We’ve seen plenty of Breaking Bad tributes and video essays, but we’ve got to hand it to Filmscalpel and Larry Erens for keeping it fresh with their take, which focuses on Walter White’s de-evolution as told through his relationship with firearms and explosives.

How Rick and Morty Tells a Story

How Rick and Morty Tells a Story

Wisecrack is back with another deep-dive into the Rick and Morty multiverse. This time they break down the classic episode The Ricks Must Be Crazy, and how Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s use of good story structure makes each episode as satisfying as possible.

Futurama: The Science of Comedy

Futurama: The Science of Comedy

Video essayist Kaptain Kristian takes a look at one of our favorite animated shows ever, Matt Groening and David X. Cohen and their writers infused the show with geek culture, intricate plots, one of the best comedic ensembles ever, and a balance of cynicism and hopefulness.

Star Trek is a Submarine Series

Star Trek is a Submarine Series

The Film Theorists’ Frame By Frame argues that Star Trek’s creators cribbed several tropes from submarine films for his TV show, such as mutiny and making blind decisions. We think that these elements are present in many movies where a group of people are left on their own.

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FLCL: Journey to Maturity

FLCL: Journey to Maturity

One of Adult Swim’s best imports, the anime Fooly Cooly is convoluted and overwhelming at times. But as kaptainkristian explains, there was a method to the show’s madness. It was the world seen through the eyes of someone going through puberty.

Gorillaz: Deconstructing Genre

Gorillaz: Deconstructing Genre

Kaptain Kristian takes a look at one of our favorite bands. Created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, Gorillaz is a modern-day supergroup, with a constantly changing lineup, a free-flowing, enigmatic style, and fronted by a stable of four archetypal animated characters.

The Empty Cup Awards

The Empty Cup Awards

Professor Myles McNutt talks about one of his pet peeves: obviously empty coffee cups in TV shows and movies. The problem is that filling the cups could potentially ruin takes and extend shooting. The solution? Better acting and directing.

Spider-Man: Lessons of Heroism

Spider-Man: Lessons of Heroism

Video essayist Kaptain Kristian looks at what makes Spider-Man unique among superheroes, and how his struggles with everyday life, relationships, and self-doubt made him more relatable and realistic than most.

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