ENDURANCE TEST TUESDAYS #1

The worst things in life are free.  In this case, the worst possible things ever are on the internet, ready for consumption.

With a group of friends, sometimes we do what I like to call “Endurance Tests”.  That is, we find the worst stuff on the internet (but not things that are too easy to win with like gory or gross stuff i.e. Two Girls One Cup, BME Pain Olympics, goatse.cx, etc.), and try and make it through the entire thing.  These things come in the form of terrible movies, awful music videos, or downright cringeworthy youtube videos that will try the patience of any sane person.  Since I’ve been writing reviews, I make it my mission to seek out the very very worst of the worst, and really unpack them.  Figure out what makes them so fascinating.  Every Tuesday, I will watch something terrible (submitted by you), and I will review it as if I were reviewing any present day film.

Today, I’ll be reviewing a video submitted by Amanda W.

WINDOWS 95 VIDEO GUIDE

Here’s a 3 step guide to how to make this video.

1. Take a Windows 95 Instructional Manual.

2. Add Cocaine.

3. There is no step 3.

Someone had the genius idea of mixing an instructional video with a sitcom… for some reason.  One would think that the info of an instructional guide might be easier to digest if it wasn’t in a format that wasn’t meant to convey information in a clear & concise way.  But, the fact that videos like this pervaded the 1990’s, instructions given in a format that doubles as entertainment, says a lot about the 90’s..  If we can be candid about this, the only format this works in is TV for toddlers (Sesame Street for example).  The reason for this is because the information is so basic, that crafting entertainment around it wouldn’t distract from the info.  In this format, an instructional sitcom teaching people how to use a computer operating system, this video was bound to fail from the start.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 9.38.10 AM

The look of actors wishing they were doing something else.

This video can be separated into two halves.  The first half is the sitcom.

Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston show up at Microsoft’s headquarters to talk to Bill Gates about appearing in a Windows 95 video (It’s meta…  Get it?!).  They meet a snappy secretary.  They have unfunny banter.  Then, we’re thrust head-on into info-time!  From this point on, the video acts as a clumsy device to sell us on Microsoft’s operating system momentarily interrupted with by unfunny banter.  Then, we’re treated to other “zany” characters like the foreign window washer who they make fun for being overweight.  Fat-shaming is so funny, guys!  And then, he somehow has info about Windows 95, and he feeds us info too.  Cue unfunny banter!  Then, we’re introduced to a nerd stereotype who has the hots for Jennifer Aniston.  He has more unfunny banter.  Then, we get a guy who is a delivery boy for a Chinese restaurant, and speaks in a weird accent that is a hybrid of a Southern Cali accent and a Stereotypical Chinese accent  Yay, because racism is so funny!  Then, we get a kid who rolls in on a Razor scooter.  He challenges Jennifer Aniston to a game of 3D pinball.  Then, a rock band comes in, plays some music randomly, and everyone starts dancing.

Because, overweight people are FUNNY!  RIGHT?!

Because, overweight people are FUNNY! RIGHT?!

At this point, it dawned on me exactly what the hell was wrong with this video.  The fundamental problem with this video (besides the fact that it’s monumentally unfunny) is that every character shows up as if we’re supposed to already know them.  It’s like we’re dropped into the middle of the 4th season of a TV sitcom, like we’re already supposed to be acquainted with these people, and find them funny.  We don’t.  At least I didn’t.  I laughed so little, I seriously began questioning if I’d ever laugh again.  Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry are irritating anyway.  Their smarmy “quirky” personalities started to actively get on my nerves about 5 minutes in.  This… is so convinced of it’s comedic genius, that there are actual pauses in the middle of dialogue where laughter should be.

You know what I like in my instructional video?  Offensive Asian stereotypes, that's what!

You know what I like in my instructional video? Offensive Asian stereotypes, that’s what!

I know people have a lot of nostalgia for the 90’s.  But, this video is a time capsule of a decade practically filled with unfortunate pop culture phenomenons.  We don’t have the heart to admit the things we liked as kids and/or teenagers sucked.  If this video serves any purpose, it needs to destroy what little nostalgia my generation has left.  This is an artifact.  A product that reminds of what a weird and culturally tone-deaf decade the 90’s were.  And, also a reminder of why “Friends” always annoyed the ever-loving shit out of me (seriously, Seinfeld is better).

This kid grew up to be a serial killer, by the way.

This kid grew up to be a serial killer, by the way.

Fortunately, the sitcom segment ends about halfway through (this thing is an hour long).  And, from then on, we have the much more entertaining segment which is the basic instructional stuff without the awkward comedy.

Endurance Tests are usually difficult for two reasons:

1. Length

2. Cringe-worthiness.

This one is more of the former.  It’s an hour long, which makes sitting there and watching it in one sitting hard.  It’s “cringe-worthy” because of the sitcom-shit.  There is nothing harder-to-watch than a comedy that isn’t funny.  You start to feel embarrassed for the actors & actresses involved.  This big swelling of pity is what makes this not necessarily as unwatchable as most of the other Endurance Tests that might come my way.

I give this a “cringe-meter” rating of…

3.0 out of 5.0

Every Tuesday, I will watch and review whatever terrible shit you send me.  You can send me stuff to watch via facebook…  Post it to my wall, and next Tuesday, you’ll see which video(s) made the cut.  So, send in your submissions (facebook.com/LewisMorrisPoetry) before Friday!

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