Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I wrote this about a year ago before the DVD of the first season of Freakazoid came out.

Do you remember the TV show Freakazoid? It was a cartoon by Stephen Spielberg in 95 about a geeky kid who gets absorbed into the internet, gaining all the knowledge it contains at once. This causes him to gain super-ish powers while also going fairly [hilariously] insane. The show's rhetoric of comedy was based heavily on slapstick, obscure cultural references, and inane non-sequitur. It ran for 2 seasons on the WB. Considering that 12 years have passed since the original air date, I find it somewhat awe inspiring that the humor presented in the writing - while politically and somewhat socially outdated – can still hold water against any of our most beloved comedy sources, ie: Williams Street, Homestar, super deluxe, ask a ninja, SA, TW, /. etc.

The character of Freakazoid himself is , I feel, a statement about the modern ____ ... here I halt for a definite term. Nerd no longer applies, as many of us are attractive, socially apt individuals. Geek, I suppose, has become the proper moniker. But we really have no single term for this new group of hyper-jaded interconnected technophilic comedy whores, because the group to whom it applies is such a broad one.

It is the entire generation of whom I speak. It is my generation. The e-generation. We who from an early age knew no want of information, entertainment, or pornography. We span every cm of the social spectrum, yet our sense of humor, our tolerance for the socially intolerable [see: goatse, meatspin] and our love of the new and inane [see: lolcat] bind us together. So perhaps Freakazoid was meant to be a prediction of the intellectual fate of those among us who would take advantage of the then infantile information super highway. However fate intervened, AOL told the American public that they had mail, and what was meant to be a private and obscure special interest group became a world wide phenomenon.

Freakazoid went effectively insane because of his intense, instant exposure to all the information on the internet (his kind-hearted silliness contrasting with the cynicism of Muad'dib's sister Alia) and his sense of humor was heavily skewed to the inane and the incoherent. Our generation was also flung headlong into the turbid waters of the internets, and our collective and individual psyches were never the same. Awash in the impersonal surf of the budding world wide web, our young and ceremoniously innocent minds were quick to learn that with such a wealth of information and such a crushing tide of options, it would be suicide to even attempt to investigate every video, photoshop, and animation that came rolling in amid the seaweed and marine detritus of email spam. So we began to 'surf' the web. We learned to skim. The mildly entertaining was passed over for the inhumanly hilarious, the crem de la crem. Only the finest was worth our precious 56K download time.

We became snobs out of pure necessity, to be sure, lest we drown amid sub-standard comedy. We could no longer tolerate the re-hashed routine comedy of sitcoms. While perhaps a dulled wit and chronic alcoholism may lesson the outright monotony into bearable levels, our collective hive mind of analytical blood hounds would certainly point out the painfully repetitive plot lines and hollow, one-dimensional characters.

Was Spielberg such a visionary that he could predict what being raised with such an insurmountable influx of information, humor, and pornography would do to an entire generation of over-privileged American children? Have we all become a little bit more like Freakazoid? Or is it that the American people have always been a little insane, now we just hear from each other more often.

For those readers who are not familiar with goatse or meatspin, I offer the following links with a disclaimer as to their definite not-work-safe content.
You have been warned.
Meatspin (if the link is still down, see the Urban Dictionary entry on meatspin)
Goatse has since been removed from the public domain, but a bit of digging can turn it up if you're really determined.
goatse wiki

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