Digital Prospector: Seahawks hypocrisy. Chinese Cockblock. Shredding Brian Wilson

Plus, exotic junk foods and the "drunkest Craig's List ad." Critic Rustin Thompson unearths the best - and worst - of online video.
Plus, exotic junk foods and the "drunkest Craig's List ad." Critic Rustin Thompson unearths the best - and worst - of online video.

Seattle Seahawks Promo
Concussions? What concussions? A montage of brain-rattling collisions punctuates this 2013 Seahawk promo video, pointing up the obvious hypocrisy involved in the head injury controversies engulfing the NFL. Retired players, league officials, referees and even coaches clamor for new safety rules to protect against severe head trauma, yet teams promote these helmet-to-the-solar plexus hits with the macho verve of a Vin Diesel action sequence. This “Separation by Preparation” promo (separation of the brain stem from the spinal cord perhaps?) downplays the running back’s graceful lope or the wide receiver’s balletic leap in favor of the visceral, violent, cranial crunch. If it bleeds it leads.

Real Adult Feelings
This Seattle-bred web series follows the navel-gazing exploits of Ethan (Mikiech Nichols), a perpetual slacker, and his old friend, Rob (Devin Badoo), a perpetual, and failed, Los Angeles slacker. After Ethan’s mom dies and leaves him her house and a mountain of debt, Rob agrees to move in to help with the mortgage. They post the “world’s drunkest Craigslist ad” which lures in two more roommates, the socially awkward Alice and the polymorphic Greg (Is he a transvestite? A hit man? A Slavic drug courier?). Their adventures run the gamut from the ludicrous to the exceptionally ludicrous — with yawning black holes of dead air between the funny bits — but Nichols’ laconic persona is an agreeable foil to Badoo’s loopy delivery. They are aiming for the chemistry that made It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia a reliable hit and, with a little belt tightening in the scripts and an uptick in quality, Real Adult Feelings could become a contender. The gang hopes to premiere their second season this month.

HBO is offering the first three episodes of its half-hour magazine show, Vice, for free online before the second season kicks off. “The world is changing and no one knows where it’s going,” declares Shane Smith, the show’s creator and executive producer, and the founder of Vice in its original incarnation as a Canadian print magazine. Smith’s goal is to pick-up where the now defunct network news bureaus left off, traveling to global hotspots to produce in-depth stories on current events. Vice orchestrated the freak show meet-up between Dennis Rodman and his new BFF, Kim Jong-un, a report on the wanton murder of political candidates in the Philippines and a lighter segment (“Chinese Cockblock") on the shallow pool of date-ready women in China. The stories employ the muscular techniques (hand-held cameras, wide-angle close-ups, natural sound) pioneered by the CBS series, 48 Hours, in the early ‘90s. The reporters, however, could stand a visit to the gym. Skinny, tattooed and bespectacled, they look like the guy who waited on you last week at Boom Noodle.

Don’t Put That In Your Mouth
Speaking of people more twee than Ira Glass (if that is even possible), New York nerd-geek Mark Cerosima road tests exotic junk foods in these self-produced snippets. Snack bags of Sour Cream and Onion Crickets are sampled along with Octopus Flavored Chips. “I’m getting a high-school gym, sweet and sweaty smell,” Mark chirps after sniffing a sackful of Steak-flavored Doritos. Different co-hosts join him on these gustatory odysseys, which take place mostly within the vacant offices of what looks like an Internet start-up before the VC money tap has been turned on. Flagrantly insouciant to background décor, which consists of sun-blasted windows and an overturned lamp, Cerosima comes across as your typical high-tech hipster twiddling his video thumbs while waiting for the next app assignment. (See the first episode of Don't Put That in Your Mouth on next page.)

Beach Boys Shredding Video
As far as I can tell, this new use of the term “shred” is not about explosive, mind-ripping guitar solos or the first step in the careful preparation of a green salad. Here, “shredding” refers to the process of plopping doofy, self-created soundtracks on top of readily available performance clips found on YouTube. Most of those I sampled were execrable, offering uncontestable evidence of a misspent afternoon. But this one, a shred of “I Get Around”, had me hooked (wait for the handclaps!). Perhaps Brian Wilson has finally met his idiot savant match.

For more nuggets from the Digital Prospector, go here.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Rustin Thompson

Rustin Thompson

Rustin Thompson is a filmmaker, film critic and indie radio deejay. He enjoys strong coffee, red wine, IPAs and his wife and grown children. He is comfortable with the fact he will never be rich, but grows petulant if he thinks too much about it.