I’ve got apocalypse on the brain this week (possibly because my subconscious is desperate to latch on to anything besides my current thesis chapter), and have also been scouring the internet for teaching aids. The Green brothers have predictably been a highly entertaining source of material, but this week the winning discovery was the YouTube channel Wisecrack. You may know Wisecrack from such gems as ThugNotes, 8-Bit Philosophy, and Pop-Psych!, but my favourite so far is definitely their film criticism series, called Earthling Cinema.
Earthling Cinema, which reminds me pleasantly of the long-cancelled TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, is not only educational and highly humorous (at least if you’re me) – it is also post-apocalyptic. In this show, Garyx Wormuloid, a heavily-eyebrowed alien played by Mark Schroeder, explains and analyses relics from a future where planet Earth is no more.
The camp and general silliness of both the sets and the premise is part of this series’ charm. As you can see from this instalment on The LEGO Movie (2014), Earthling Cinema’s retrospective look at contemporary culture and media trends also offers many delightfully sarcastic moments:
Each video is around five minutes long, and includes all the things you might expect from a post-apocalyptic educational programme. Names are intentionally mispronounced, and historical texts and details deliberately fudged. The DVD copies of the films discussed in the videos are displayed behind glass like museum pieces, and are suitably charred and aged.
Apart from the many fun, and sometimes cryptic, little touches (like the ‘Censored’ bars over people’s mouths whenever they eat on-screen), this series of videos is an enjoyable reminder of why, after my graduate degree in the humanities, I can no longer watch films uncynically. It is also a great reminder of why I don’t really mind that too much – and, above all, it’s a great exercise in alienation. What will future civilisations think of us, and of our culture?
I strongly suggest you head over to YouTube and check this series out in more detail. If you’re looking for a place to start, I can recommend these videos on The Lion King (a.k.a. Hamlet with animals; 1994) and The Hunger Games (2012):
Happy viewing, earthlings!