Thanks for reading the first article in my new category that I have titled “Unfunnied.” In this series, I will take things that I perceive to be funny and then analyze them to the point where they’re not funny anymore. At the end of each article, I’ll facetiously state, “ehh, you kinda had to be there” as though I just realized at the conclusion of writing my article that my description made the topic unfunny. To switch things up, I may later say, “and then I found twenty dollars,” which is a phrase I commonly use at the end of boring stories to make them sound interesting as people are always interested when one serendipitously finds money.
Today’s subject is http://www.xkcd.com/396/.
This cartoon is great. It’s all about the movie The Ring, which is an American remake of the Japanese movie Ringu. In both versions, there exists a video tape that kills its viewers unless they pass it on within a period p where p = 1 week.
The prankster in the cartoon that watches the video posts the video on the Internet for the entire world to see because they “rickrolled” him. For those of you unfamiliar with “rickrolling,” it is a sadistic form of entertainment in which a person sends a victim a misleading link that sends the user to the music video of Rick Astley’s 80’s hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” For example, one day, I was looking for videos of hits from the 80s, and my friend sent me a link called, “Funny music video from the 80s.” When I clicked on it, I was completely shocked to find that it was the music video of Rick Astley’s 80’s hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” I was rickrolled.
In the final frame, we realize that 363,104 people have seen the video (and presumably more), but the protagonist feels plenty justified.
In this cartoon, the creator does the following things:
- Makes a pop-geek-culture reference. XKCD is heavily targeted towards the “geek” demographic which will be able to identify with “Rickrolling.” Many will this cartoon funny for this reason alone.
- Makes light of death. In the Ring movies, the video is a terrible thing that results in people’s deaths. The character in XKCD uses it humorously as a means for his revenge upon at least 363,104 people.
- Makes you think. Is the protagonist anti-superstition and using this video to prove a point? Or is he just crazy? And if we are back in the context of The Ring, how are 363,104 people possibly going to perpetuate this video? Will they all just die?
Through these methods, it’s really easy to understand why this comic is comical…
eh… you kinda had to be there.