I’ll Review Anything: Too Many Cooks (short film)

I will never know how some things go viral. Most viral sensations, like Keyboard Cat or Gangnam Style, are really ridiculous yet they manage to capture the imagination of the viewing public in such a way that people can’t seem to get enough of it and just draws in a ton of views. But I’m okay with not understanding the mystery of how a great viral video is born; I’m just happy that there are these viral videos to entertain me.

The latest video to become viral is Too Many Cooks, a short video that aired on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim late night programming. It’s something that my generation will enjoy, and possibly some younger folks who understand the tropes and weird humor we’ve derived from the era.

While we do have Cartoon Network over here in the Philippines, the channel is dedicated to children up to teens. The most “adult” shows we have over here are Adventure Time, Regular Show and The Amazing World of Gumball. Yes, these shows can be enjoyed by adults as well but they aren’t exactly aimed at young adults. And they show these programs late at night. I think they used to show some Adult Swim programming (Harvey Birdman, Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Aqua Team Hunger Force) over the weekend but they’ve long since abandoned doing so. Which is sad because I think more adults would watch Cartoon Network if they did show some more Adult Swim programs here.

What I’m trying to say is I never got to experience Too Many Cooks in its “raw” form. I never got to see it as the glorious spoof that it is. I’ve only been able to catch it on YouTube, which is where it became a huge hit. And it just makes me more sad that we don’t get this kind of weird, twisted humor over here.

Anyway, Too Many Cooks is a Adult Swim short depicting an intro to a very typical 80’s television program. Or should I say… programs? Too Many Cooks is a mishmash of various television intros of the era. If you didn’t know it was a colossal joke, you may even think it was a long forgotten sitcom! The theme song manages to capture the extremely catchyness vibe early 80’s sitcom theme songs have.

It starts out with an (overly long) intro of a family sitcom, complete with kids and an extended family. And it just goes on and on, even going to the extend of adding Smarf, a weird puppet like thing, into the “show.”

Gah! What the hell is that? Kill it!

Gah! What the hell is that? Kill it!

And then it just segues into different television tropes, such as a cooking show, an office sitcom, a police drama, a GI Joe ripoff and more. And just when you can’t think it gets any weirder… it does!

Just when Too Many Cooks begins spoofing Dallas, a character that was previously in the background starts killing off the cast members of the show. Named Bill by fans (the name of the “actor” is never shown), he then starts stalking a sorority girl throughout the set! His murderous rampage continues and he kills even a couple of superheroes and a cop! He even gets his own “spoof” parodying what we’ve seen so far!!

Things get even weirder when they start parodying a Buck Rogers, a medical drama, nuclear war, a strange world where words are sentient beings… it’s just weird! Anyway, once all is said and done, the “intro” finally ends and we get to the show itself. All 7 seconds before they run out of time.

What the hell did I just watch?

I totally get the references of Too Many Cooks but that’s because I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, where the shows they were parodying was on TV all the time. I’m basically the target audience. Much like a lot of the cutaway gags on Family Guy, I know all of the 80’s tropes they threw in there. As such, I enjoyed it. But I totally understand people not liking it because of their unfamiliarity with it. Also, since the main gag of the video is making fun of television show intros (which a lot of shows nowadays don’t have), younger viewers may get the joke.

Too Many Cooks also goes to great lengths to shock viewers as well with murder and the death of Smarf. It’s funny in a sick sort of way but it’s something I totally get. Once again, if this kind of humor doesn’t float your boat, I totally understand. You’re not the target audience.

What did you do? I was only kidding when I said you should kill Smarf!

What did you do? I was only kidding when I said you should kill Smarf!

Too Many Cooks is a great viral video… for right now. But viral videos have to stand the rigors of time and I don’t think Too Many Cook will be remembered in a year or so. It’ll be fun to visit it again in the future but, for me, it just doesn’t have the replay value of other viral videos for the simple reason it’s too long! Running at 11 minutes, it’s something you have to really set aside some time to watch. I guess it was better when it was broadcast on television since you actually didn’t know how long it was and you can get sucked in to all of the funny imagery and wonder where the video will go.

Overall, Too Many Cooks is funny for me. But younger kids unfamiliar with what it’s making fun of will probably not enjoy it as much. They may be able to understand the tropes and humor but they probably won’t truly understand it like my generation will.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Too Many Cooks. Play me out, Keyboard Cat!

What’s your thoughts on Too Many Cooks? Do you think it’ll stand the test of time? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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