Month: March 2014

Super Saiyan Goku

Dragonball Z, nu metal and the rise of the online mash-up

In just a few days, on April 5, the world will observe the memory of  singer/songwriter Kurt Cobain, who took his life 20 years ago. As the frontman for Nirvana, he brought muddy, sonic riffs and screaming until your voice was hoarse into the forefront of popular music, influencing every rock band to come after him. But, whereas Nirvana was known to intersperse reserve into their songs as part of their quiet verse/loud chorus formula, the bands that followed in his wake took a more aggressive route. When post-grunge bands like Bush and Live fell off just as quickly as they appeared, they were soon followed by the Korns and Limp Bizkits of the world, establishing the genre we’ve come to know as nu metal. For better or worse, this hyper-masculine fusion of metal and rap/rock ruled the world in the late ’90s and early aughts, celebrating excess in noise and adrenaline.

Also making waves in the years before and after the turn of the millennium was Dragon Ball Z, an anime by acclaimed cartoonist Akira Toriyama, which had just been localized for western audiences. The show, adapted from the popular manga, proved popular in the States, as well, featuring, again, hyper-masculine heroes and villains, excessive screaming and plenty of martial arts-meets-sci-fi violence. In conjunction with the advent of Napster, fans of the show were able to download both nu metal songs and Dragon Ball Z episodes and movies and fuse together the sweaty defiance of western MTV hits with the melodramatic choreographed fighting sequences the show was known for (they just cut out the many scenes of comic relief). With Napster now shuttered, the legacy of the Dragon Ball Z mash-up lives on on Youtube. Perhaps it’s only appropriate to start with the most popular nu metal band of all, Linkin Park.

Though many critics and pop music fans now lament the nu metal wave, it wasn’t too long ago audiences couldn’t get enough of it. Linkin Park’s 2000 debut Hybrid Theory is one of only 20 albums in the past 23 years to go diamond (10 million copies sold) and was also the best-selling album of 2001. The hit single “In the End” became an anthem for the millennial generation, and finds its way into many DBZ montages, including this one:

Though many characters in the show sport spiky hair, this particular character highlighted in the video is Vegeta. In Dragon Ball lore, he is a prince of the endangered Saiyan race, obsessed with his own pursuit of power and besting fellow Saiyan and series protagonist Goku. Though Vegeta and Goku were once mortal enemies at the show’s outset, they’ve since sworn a truce in the interest in preserving their race (though that doesn’t mean their rivalry isn’t revisited every now and then). Despite his royal lineage and his dedication to becoming the strongest warrior in the galaxy, he can never best Goku, fueling his rage even further. How fitting, then, that the song’s chorus echoes the internal strife Vegeta faces throughout the series:

I tried so hard

and got so far

but in the end

it doesn’t even matter

We can see, in both the first and second verse, Vegeta’s mouth synched to bits of the lyrics as if he is singing them himself, suffering one crushing defeat after another. Particularly poignant is the lyric “Remembering all the times that you fought with me” as the camera cuts from Goku’s face to his over the monosyllabic rapping, conjuring all the memories of their bad blood. Fans of the show will recognize the lyrics “Things aren’t the way they were before/you wouldn’t even recognize me anymore” play over the shot of Vegeta grinning during his possession by villain Majin Buu. Finally, during the bridge, once the power chords come back in full effect, Vegeta transforms into a Super Saiyan, waves of light energy rising around him as Chester Bennington returns to wailing. Speaking of wailing, let’s move on to a no. 1 billboard hit with plenty of screaming, “Headstrong” by Trapt:

This particular sequence in the anime shows the end of the Majin Buu saga, with Goku and Vegeta teaming up to defeat the titular foe. The song perfectly suits the animation not only because the characters do plenty of grimacing and howling (which you’ll find plenty of in a nu metal music video), but also because this particular battle features plenty of headbutts, perhaps most notably at 3:14 and 3:26. The heavy chugging of the guitars aligns with each blow delivered, and the video ends with the reverb of the final note fading out as Goku launches the tried-and-true spirit bomb and obliterates Buu into tiny pieces. Let’s move on to tribute video to another series mainstay, Gohan:

Gohan is Goku’s son, who viewers watch grow up from child to teen to adult as he continues his father’s legacy across the series. As is a common theme across these videos, Gohan emits a powerful swirl of energy at the bursting first note of the chorus, but unlike other videos, we get a touching look at his relationship with his father. At the bridge, as Gohan is about to be crushed by his foe (whose name I don’t know, I haven’t seen the film in question), Goku frees him and holds his injured son in his arms as the Evanescence leader singer Amy Lee sings “Frozen inside without your touch/without your love darling/only you are the life among the dead” in their hit single “Bring Me to Life.” On more than one occasion, Goku sacrifices himself for his son (and he is revived just as many times with the power of the dragon balls, which can grant their possessor any wish, including resurrecting the dead), so the words lend themselves to the history the two share. With the help and compassion of his father, Gohan then finds the strength to vanquish his foes.

The list goes on and on, as the breadth of both the series and nu metal tracks is larger than you might think. Even though some of these videos have timestamps from six years ago, I can remember watching similar videos before the days of Youtube through downloads or on sites like ebaumsworld back on my family’s first PC in 2001. I could keep going with analyses, but the amount of DBZ mash-ups are so numerous, dare I say they’re … over nine thousaaaaaaand!

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God and Butter

I’d hate to ruin something as splendidly thoughtless as butter for anyone reading this post, but Land O Lake’s label–a long-standing household image–is loaded with just as much meaning as cholesterol.

Land-O-Lakes

Beneath the Land O Lakes text, a smiling Native American woman holds another Land O Lakes box of butter in her hands. Behind her, the “O” in “Land O Lakes” surrounds her head from the exact center of the picture’s rectangular borders—creating a halo around her head.

These elements in particular ring of Sean Hall’s book, This Means This, This Means That, wherein he explains the relationship between signifiers and what is signified. The signified, in this case, is the “O” in Land O Lakes”, signifying a vague sort of divinity. From here, the divinity trickles from the halo, to the Native American woman (the bearer of the halo), to the product she is offering.

Just as important to the significations is the woman’s—and, furthermore, the box’s—placement(s) in this label. Notice that not only is she front and center with the box, all the objects surrounding her in the margin—the hills, the horizon—intensify her centricity; the hills to both of her sides are symmetrically-placed while the horizon makes a line straight through the middle region of her body. This element of placement adds yet another layer of religiosity to Land O Lakes’ product, drawing on Christian art works like Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” or murals inside of old churches.

So what is the purpose of placing a Native American woman in a Christian context when trying to sell your product? For starters, America is a primarily Christian nation, so using religious aesthetics to tap into our senses of purity and wholesomeness can’t hurt. I’m a lot more interested in the fact that this woman is Native American, though. Perhaps the creators of this label were tapping into another context—our nation’s considerably ugly formation over the Native Americans—and purifying it through Christianity. The woman in the label is sitting before a yellow, butter-like American sky and happily offering us Land O Lakes butter with a Christ-like halo.

We’ve seen similar works like this in more recent years for different, yet similar purposes:

One Nation Under God

In the controversial painting by Jon McNaughton, “One Nation Under God”, we see the same placement of divinity—this time Jesus—at the center of the work with the same central placement and same idealization (a glowing aura around his head). And, just like the Land O Lakes woman, he is offering us something: the Constitution. In both paintings, the artists are offering us forgiveness by fusing the divine with America, ultimately offering us forgiveness through what they are selling: dairy products and political agendas.

Looking Deeper into Gender Roles in Toy Commercials

When looking at things through a semiotic lens, we have to assume that everything is potentially meaningful. Doing so is no chore when looking at the following children’s toy commercials. Many toy commercials contain blunt messages for the gender roles and socialization of children and the following videos are shining examples.

In this commercial for the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven, six girls go through a montage of cooking with the product while dancing synchronously in matching aprons. The first striking thing about this commercial may be that the girls—at least in their early teens—are far older than the target buyer of the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven, which Hasbro states to be as young as eight. It’s pretty safe to assume that these girls left their Easy-Bake Ovens in the attack a few years back.

Interesting so far. Let’s dig deeper.

At twelve seconds into the commercial, an older woman, who is clearly meant to represent a mother, turns around to the girls cooking and gives an approving smile as she works on a cooking project of her own—presumably the same pastries the girls are making. The next time we see her, which is also the last time, is at twenty-one seconds wherein you only see her from behind walking away, leaving the girls completely on their own.

So what does a girl, say eight or nine years old, see? In this case, you don’t need to be a girl to see. A bunch of cool-looking older girls using the Easy-Bake Oven. Furthermore, the mother of these girls happily lets them do it by themselves—granting them not only womanhood, but the proper womanhood. Through two higher generational layers—those of the hip young teenagers and the wise mother—the eight or nine year old has absorbed a rather blunt message: This is what women do. This is where you belong.

This next commercial for Robocop and Ultra Police action figures is another gender role-reinforcer—this time for boys. Unlike that of the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven, this commercial does not show a role as specific as that of a housewife. It does, however, promote a value message which, in itself, implies multiple kinds of roles.

The commercial starts off with footage from the original Robocop movie, which introduces/reminds the boy viewers to the character in which these action figures represent. The commercial then presents its own narrative split from the movie footage wherein the action figures, through no other agency than firepower (the action figures do not ‘walk’ or ‘run’ anywhere). As the commercial states, “The Ultra Police, protected by robo-armor, bring Robocop even more fire-power.”

As the good guys claim victory over Head Hunter and Nitro by no other virtue than fire-power, an ethical message is formed: justice and righteousness is ultimately attained through violence. The role of the boy, by that value, is can be narrowed down by a process of elimination of any other problem solving: negotiation, pacifism, reason, etc. Furthermore, the toys that the characters represent serve as models for the boys–physically ideal (muscular and touch-looking) to translate into them as ethically and methodically ideal characters: problem solvers by means of violence.

When we think of literary symbols, the “signified” meaning of a symbol is often taken from very specific sources: Shakespeare or Charles Dickens, Faust or the Bible. Especially the Bible.

Which brings in the concept of water: In most writing, water is refreshing, it brings in the concept of birth, life, and baptism. In horror, very rarely does water reflect this concept. Water signifies many things in horror, but mostly it represents the symbol of the unknown and unknowable.

Look to H. P. Lovecraft and his “Cthulhu Mythos” which respect to many of his Elder Gods–although there are Elder Gods for each element, most of the ones Lovecraft writes about are his gods of water, living deep within the sea. There is his Dagon, Cthuhlu, and Mother Hydra, references in various stories, most notably one of Lovecraft’s few novellas The Shadow Over Innsmouth, which heavily plays on the concept of water, not just because of the gods that dwell there, and the ocean-side locale, but because (spoiler alert) the people themselves are of the sea: They are strange, and unknown to the world around them, just like the deeps of the ocean itself.

Image

To put this in the perspective of film: We have JawsGodzillaThe Abyss and even Sharknado. All the evils in these films come of the water–some even reflecting upon real threats (after all, Jaws was based real shark attacks). The idea of unknowable water plays off truths we all know: The ocean is vast, it is scary, and there is much of it we still don’t know, and because of this it becomes a natural symbol in these films and novels.

Sean Hall, in This Means This, This Means That, expands on this point: He states that there are two ways symbols can arise, natural and cultural, and while there are plenty of movies that play on cultural fear (The Exorcist, and other movies based on religious concepts), movies involving water are often purely natural in how they encourage emotions in their viewers, especially “creature” films, like many of the aforementioned movies (and even Lovecraft stories) are. In a cultural context, water in clean, pure, and baptismal, but once there is enough of it, the fear of what lurks calls to our most basic of instincts.

Which goes back to an overall theme of horror: Whether it be woods or water, abandoned hospitals or lost islands, the idea that were is some unconquered unknown appeals to our fears, and becomes a symbol for it.

Analysis of The Bling Ring

If you’re looking for a movie that captures the essence of celebrity-obsession, Sofia Coppola’s (daughter of famed director Francis Ford Coppola) led The Bling Ring certainty tops that list. The movie, released last summer, is based on the real life crimes of a group of Los Angeles teenagers who broke into the homes of a slew of A-list celebrities including Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson and Megan Fox. While the real buglers are spending time behind bars and still in the midst of a lengthy probation, the movie became not only fodder for the actual crime, but allowed for a satirical look—while not violent in nature, still an invasion of privacy, but planned (by these teenagers) for the purposes of obtaining expensive clothing and jewelry. As movie critic Richard Roeper called Emma Watson’s portrayal of Alexis Neiers “comedic gold”, while on the surface, Watson isn’t playing the role of a cartoon character leaping over fences, skinning knees, cracking jokes and misleading officers about her identity when confronted at the home she shares with her mother and father and her two sisters, her character is simply oblivious to reality, as she  truly thinks she means what she says.

Emma Watson in The Bling Ring (Source: NextMovie)

Emma Watson in The Bling Ring (Source: NextMovie)

I thought the dichotomy of this movie allowed for a bit more interpretation on my end.

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Parody vs. Copyright: Court Case Examples

In previous blog posts, I discussed the eerie similarities between movie posters.  Despite the fact that many of the posters have the same visuals and overarching theme in order to target the same audience, most of the artists that create movie posters agree that it is not copyright infringement because enough has been changed: the font, the characters, the background.  Originality in movie posters comes from the “inspiration” of other posters that were effective.

Other artists have sued over movie posters, however.  In a 1987 court case, artist Saul Steinberg sued Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. for copyright infringement of his art.  Steinberg argued that the movie poster from Moscow on the Hudson was too similar to his original work, View of the World from 9th Avenue, published on the cover of The New Yorker.

If we compare the two images, we see the striking similarities that Steinberg argued for.  The color and shadow (down to the angle of the building), the use of cars and lettering on the street, the perspective of Moscow and the Pacific Ocean, respectively.  Even the lettering for “The New Yorker” and “Moscow on the Hudson” is in the same font style, a font that The New Yorker often utilizes.

Columbia Pictures Industries, along with many other movie and record companies being sued for the association of the poster, argued that they were using the poster under the fair use factor, parody.  Stanford University easily summarizes the definition of parody: “In a parody…the parodist transforms the original by holding it up to ridicule.  At the same time, a work does not become a parody simply because the author models characters after those found in a famous work.”  A parody, in short, must highlight the extremes of the nature of a work to make another point about it.

Judge Louis L. Stanton believed, in this case, that Steinberg had created the parody about New Yorkers by arguing their perspective about the world, not the movie poster.  Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. may have found inspiration in Steinberg’s work, by had only borrowed the parody that Steinberg created instead of making their own.

Because they were not arguing for anything else, but using the poster to argue the same effect as Steinberg, Steinberg won his court case on the grounds that too much had been copied.  Judge Stanton believed that the perspective itself was not copyright (the poster was free to use the subjective perspective of New York citizens), but the use of other similarities was indeed a copyright infringement.

As a comparison, a movie poster for Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult featured Leslie Nielsen’s head photoshopped onto the body of a pregnant woman.  The poster was a direct echo of a Vanity Fair cover featuring a naked and pregnant Demi Moore.  Photographer Annie Liebovitz, who had taken the picture of Demi Moore, sued for copyright infringement because of the way that the photo had been digitally manipulated to mimic her own style.

Courtesy BayCitizen.org

Viewers can see the similarities between the angle, shading, general composition of the photo and pose of the models.

However, Paramount won this case because of the notable changes they made to the picture as well.  First and most obvious is the change from Demi Moore’s face to Leslie Nielsen’s, and the expression that each wear on their faces.  Second is the size of the ring on the right hand of the model: Demi Moore’s is the general size of a wedding ring, while the other is more obnoxious.  Third, the lighting is significantly different.  On Vanity Fair, the light is soft and highlights the beauty of a pregnant woman.  On the Naked Gun poster, the lighting is crude and points out the obvious flaws of a man being pregnant.

Because of these changes and their implications in highlighting the differences between the pregnancies and genders, the courts concluded that Paramount Pictures Corp. was making a parody of the work.  They used the style of Liebovitz to make another point: there is something obnoxious and not at all beautiful about a man being pregnant.

Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. became a precedent case for when fair use did not apply and when parody was not effective.  Leibovitz v. Paramount Pictures Corp. became a case for when the images fell under fair use.  The distinction between commenting on or criticizing a work and simply copying it became clear.

Every Spooky Thing is Phallic

When you watch a slasher film, someone is going to get penetrated.

With a knife, yes, but I think we all know the real implications here: Knives, chainsaws, and the like are often used against (women) victims, and even vampire fangs, which penetrate the skin can be phallic in nature. Vampire kings often have castle towers, and victims in these films are more often than not young, sexual women.

After all, that’s why you never have sex in a horror film.

Unless the horror movie is Cherry Falls. Then you can have all the sex.

Unless the horror movie is Cherry Falls. Then you can have all the sex.

This is especially true of slasher films, which gave us the concept of the “Final Girl”–a pure female character who survives until the end because she upholds some form of “correct” behavior. In Halloween, she’s a sweet girl who works hard and isn’t a dirty loudmouth like her friend. In Friday the 13th she’s kind little Alice. In Wishmaster, she’s an innocent woman wracked with guilt over her parent’s death and who refused to succumb to the greed of wishes.

Which plays upon the “virgin/whore” dichotomy: Either a character is a raucous slut who deserves to get (excuse my language) metaphorically “fucked” by the overtly masculine (but apparently incapable of sex) bad guy, or she’s pure enough to make it to the end.

But masculine/feminine symbols don’t end with slasher films, or even the concept of the Final Girl. Bruce “Don’t Call Me Ash” Campbell’s character, Ash, in Evil Dead is not a woman, but he is the only survivor. Thrice. That doesn’t stop director Sam Raimi from making the most overt phallic symbol in a horror movie ever when he has a character who is literally raped by trees and thus turns into a Candarian Demon.

 

And so a woman becomes violated, and thus turns evil–despite being the only non-raucous person heading to the woods that day.

The problem with this concept being that it was not left in the 80s and early 90s: And is still played upon in films like All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, The Collection, The House of the Devil, and most obnoxiously the impending film Final Girl.

In fact, the concept of masculine sexual actions being represented in horror film as a way to kill women is so prevalent they even wrote a book about it, which is worth a read for anyone interested in film, horror, or feminism.

So next time you watch a horror film pay attention, because everything is phallic.

Problems with a Face

As a kid, one of the movie genres I really just consumed was the pulp series put out just after the Depression, stuff like Charlie Chan, Lone Ranger, Mr. Wong, Detective: stuff my grandparents knew from when they were young. Good movies, fun, I really enjoyed them.

Boris Karloff as Fu Manchu. Notice how facial features have been changed: eyebrows arched, eyes have been taped to give them slants, mustache added in stereotypical “Oriental” style.

But as an adult, I don’t get the same amount of pleasure from them when I try to watch them.

The big reason is that a lot of the movies I was exposed to are face movies, or at least have face characters. I hope that I don’t seem like I’m bemoaning the fact that my liberal leanings are forcing me to avoid these movies, because that’s not what i’m trying to do.

If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, the most well known example is blackface, but it is also manifested for other ethnic groups, redface for Native Americans, yellowface for Asian, etc.

Ok, so what is the problem?

The portrayals are inherently racist and serve as very powerful visual rhetoric.

Visual characters like this seek to establish themselves as typical of African-Americans. Lips and hair has been embellished, as has the overall backwards-ness of appearance.

Well, like I said, these portrayals are inherently racist and in the least appropriative.  Too often, the characters in “face” makeup are bumblers, lazy, slow, vain, greedy, subhuman. This establishes a stereotype, and the face character is a visual cue; audiences know what to expect from them when seen onstage. Being able to recreate the same features from actor to actor for a face role is a visual manipulation, allowing the movie makers to disregard the diverse realness of humanity and reduce POC to an idealized icon. What POC are actually like is not important. The negative is idealized, exaggerated, and displayed, in order to broadcast/reinforce the message that these aspects are all the targeted culture is. In doing this, POC go from individuals to characters that the audience doesn’t need to get to know; they already understand how they will act. The face character-one person, one role, one character, is allowed to stand for the whole people. Such characters are visual affirmation of race myths.

Johnny Depp’s recent portrayal of Tonto continues the traditions of redface: facepaint, broken English, quasi-mysticism. Is this how we perceive Natives?

These performances do not encapsulate the whole experience of the culture or do them real credit. (There is also the cruel twist: black/red/yellow face performers have also been members of the culture they are stereotyping, often it was the only work they could get. However, this only served as an affirmation of the performance’s reality.) Face performances, in picking and choosing what they want to convey, confirm the idea that the races being mocked are this way, and so deserve to be mocked, and treated as inferiors. We must also remember that these roles are created by a dominant section of society, and are therefore used to reinforce their position of power.

 

Playing in the Gutter With Nylon Road

Nylon Road was much different than I thought it was going to be. There was a clear narrative, but not a linear one. The story was driven by Parsua Bashi’s reflections about her political, societal, and life values as they all came back to haunt her as she tries to balance her past life in Iran and her new life in Germany. But as I read the book, I was looked a little deeper than just the surface narrative and into the subtle semiotic devices used by Bashi.

I was interested in the play Bashi did with the space between the boxed images—the space that McCloud, in Understanding Comics, calls the gutter. This space, as McCloud explains, is where “human imagination takes two separate images and transforms them into a single idea.” Understanding this makes parts of Nylon Road all the more interesting—particular parts like these two images of Bashi reading a book (picture 1).

Picture 1

Courtesy of St. Martin’s Griffin

Bashi’s arm reaching between the gutter has more than one effect. First, her arm sticking out between the images acts as a play on the domain of the gutter. This play across images is a demonstration showing that the gutter just as a much is a psychological space as it is a pause a physical location on the page. Though the conventional spaces between pictures act as a cue to the reader to prepare them for the next images and/or text, those spaces are not the solely gutter itself.

Her hand reaching between the two pictures is also a play that grays the lines between what constitutes a single picture. Does her arm unite the pictures into one? Or is the picture from the right trespassing into the one on the left? You could even argue whether or not the gutter is even there (take another look at the picture. The walls line up in the correct position between the two of them, almost making it look like the gutter was just a part of the picture).

Bashi also thinks like a comic maker—utilizing the benefits of comics that don’t commonly exist in other art forms like photography. For instance, many of Bashi’s images represent something more than single moments. Take this next scene from Bashi’s private art display (picture 2).

Picture 2

Courtesy of St. Martin’s Griffin

Unless everybody in Bashi’s universe has the ability to respond to others before they know what they said, we have to assume that there are conversations going on in this picture that presumably exceed five, six, maybe ten seconds. As McCloud states, “Perhaps we’ve been too conditioned by photography to perceive single images as single moments. After all, it does take an eye time to move across scenes in real life.” So, maybe picture 2 is only as confusing as it is accurate. The people are sharing conversations at different locations in the room–not particularly in any synchronous order orchestrated by Bashi. Because of this, the reader must use McCloud’s “rope,” to make a winding path throughout the picture and determine the order of events.

Though McCloud doesn’t note it in the section of his book containing the aforementioned statement, maybe the gutter also applies to this image as well. After all, don’t we find ourselves separating the meanings of each of these conversations and then applying them to the others, despite the fact that they all take place in the same pictorial borders? Between every one of these dialogue bubbles–and even every face, piece of furniture and corner of the house–there are fuzzy, gray gutters that make all of these elements simultaneously autonomous and collectively contributory to the larger meaning of the scene.

After such an analysis of Bashi’s book, one can gain a better understanding about how illusive–and perhaps even omnipresent–gutters can be when reading such material is this. And I don’t doubt that Bashi knows she is toying with both the reader and the comic genre itself. Note even the single leg and corner of the coffee table protruding out of picture two; it’s just enough to let us know that Bashi is working within the generic framework of comics, but is in no way bound to it.

Youtube Poop: Perverting your favorite cartoons since 2007

Disclaimer: Please note that the videos here are actually some of the cleaner Youtube Poop videos I could find. Though they contain some NSFW language and bizarre images, they are relatively tame compared to some of the other videos of their ilk. Should you choose to search for more videos like these, please be warned that many contain racist, homophobic and misogynistic language and imagery.

The Internet is wonderful place where you can connect with friends, learn anything about anything and find entertainment with the click of a button. The Internet is also the home to dark, weird and sometimes horribly offensive content, the kind that makes you question the nature of existence. Youtube Poop is one such place, the corner of the world’s most popular video service that serves as nightmare fuel.

A Youtube Poop is a video that remixes animated cartoons into clips through sound distortion and video editing, creating a new, unusual, and usually unsettling story. The source material for the videos consist mostly of shows like The Super Mario Bros. Super Show and Spongebob Squarepants, but the other popular shows have since made their way into the Youtube Poop lexicon. Take, for example, this remix of King of the Hill called Boggle Crunch.

See? I told you it would get weird.

The crux of any Youtube Poop video is to subvert our expectations of the PG rated source material to the extreme with a host of different techniques: layering dialogue from other shows, distorting the color saturation, increasing the volume at particular moments for shock value, introducing vulgarity and jumbling the most innocuous of frames into a confusing mess.

In this particular episode, the school nurse diagnoses Bobby Hill with ADHD, prescribing him medication to help him focus in school. When he first takes his drugs, he feels … different. User durhamrockerZ highlights Bobby’s mental state, slowing down the frames of animation and increasing the size of his eyes to show us how strongly Bobby is reacting to his pills (followed shortly after with a shot of his face melting at around 2:05). Zoom-ins of characters faces in slow motion highlight the moment-to-moment focus of Youtube Poops.

This video features common Poop techniques, including looping sounds and finding ways to make the characters say “shit,” which, when you think about it, is pretty easy, given you just need to find an audio clip of the character making a “sh” sound and saying “it” and put them together. In addition, we hear characters speaking their dialogue backwards and stammering at random points in their lines. By adding a simple sound clip of a fart into Peggy’s scenes, the creator has betrayed our expectations of her character and completely changed our interpretation of her.

Next, we have one everyone’s favorite yellow sponge doing … God only knows.

… Right.

We have characters getting hit by unexpected trains, random explosions and a whole lot of uncomfortably loud screaming. The highlight of this video, for me, is when Hurricoaster superimposes the shot of Spongebob skiing over Mountain performing “Mississippi Queen.” “I’m listening to you, mountain!” he yells before careening down the slope, bringing together a ’70s rock band and a Nickelodeon cartoon through our familiarity with two seemingly disparate ideas. We create the closure in our minds, and suddenly Spongebob rocking out to heavy metal seems totally reasonable.

Finally, let’s take a look at a staple in the Youtube Poop community, Sonic the Hedgehog.

This video is the king of the non-sequitur. First, Sonic begins by singing the national anthem, while later his face randomly turns into a transformer. The sounds clips from Big Daddy and Looney Tunes also come from nowhere, but their absurdity probably got a laugh from you anyway.