The internet gave birth to its most recent child with the video “Too Many Cooks.” It originally aired on Adult Swim at a 4am time slot sandwiched in-between some infomercials. It was then uploaded to their YouTube channel on November 7th where it quickly exploded to over 1 million views and is still boiling. I was delighted by the video, but I immediately knew that there would be a large group of people that would try to make sense of this beautifully crafted piece of nonsense. There are a ton of people that simply commented, “I don’t get it.” That’s exactly the point. That’s because you’re part of the joke. Allow me to explain.
This top comment I found on YouTube pretty much sums up how deeply Chris “Casper” Kelly got people to over analyze his video.
Comment posted by Cettywise:
“I don’t think people are going to understand the real idea behind this video. What you’re seeing isn’t just parody, they’re attempting to kill the seeds planted by decades of programming. They’re pushing the bounds of fiction to their limit to make it easier to identify. Yea there’s humor here on a lot of levels but they’re saying something about the television and movie industry as well. The video uses disturbing images and repetition to put our reactions into stark relief, allowing the viewer to better identify the emotional manipulation of fiction/media. In one scene a patient is sick with “intronitis” a contagious fiction, a delusion that cripples him. Much like our society is crippled by the propaganda we ingest constantly. The video goes on to try and tear apart the comfortable predictability of television programming. They are literally trying to kill TV. What you’re seeing is funny due to the sheer absurdity of it all, but a serious point is made about how absurd it is we find any connection to tv because in all honesty there are too many cooks. Too many ideas and points of view in your head that you may not have known were put there by television or society at large. They’re killing it…. I like how at the end it says to be continued. I think they know they dealt a serious blow to part of our shared fiction and they’re saying they’ll be back to finish the job.”
Here’s the thing. You’re not supposed to get it. That’s the joke. It’s not supposed to make sense. It’s meant to confuse people, and its’ somewhat parallel to Andy Kaufman’s type of humor where at times he was the only person in on the joke. The context of when “Too Many Cooks” originally aired only adds to the hilarity. It aired on Adult Swim at 4am with no advertisements or any warning. It just showed up on TV. Can you imagine if you were up at 4am and this amount of nonsense played? You’d lose your mind. It’s already incomprehensible as an internet video where you know you’re getting into something weird.
The way it was broadcasted and how people reacted to it was exactly what made the video so genius. A man is given a small budget and a 4am time slot with total creative control and this is what is produced. It is upsetting yet hilarious to me how many people will watch this entire video waiting for the joke, not realizing that the entire video is the joke. Chris Kelly was allowed to cast 30 some oblivious extras to star in a video about absolutely nothing. One of the funniest parts of the whole thing is imagining what it was like for all of the extras when they saw the finished video for the first time. Did the parents of those kids in the video gather relatives around for the premiere only to leave confused at what they had just witnessed? That moment in itself is worth all the time and money spent on the video.
“Too Many Cooks” causes so many emotions in a person. You start out with a bit of anticipation and laughter, and then you go to confusion, to anger, to fear, then to laughter, then to, “What the hell was that?” When’s the last time you watched a YouTube video that left you feeling so many emotions in just an 11 minute window?
If you really think about it, life itself is the ultimate jumbled up piece of nonsense. We invent rules and set guidelines to try and make sense of everything, but nothing truly makes sense. We live on this giant spinning sphere that’s hurling through space on a loop around a star we decided to call the sun. Fast forward to the only reason you’re alive and reading this is due to the fact that your parents thought it would be fun to team up, get naked, and make a smaller version of themselves. Presto! You’re a person.
All I’m saying is that people are often too cynical and tend to over analyze things. The key is to enjoy the moment. Embrace the absurdity. Smile at the nonsense. Life is too short to try and make sense of everything.
If you haven’t seen the video yet, then strap yourself in. One thing is for sure, and that’s the fact that there are too many cooks.