Video Digest: October 13, 2006

Television vs. GooTube: Sorkin and Ugly Betty, the history of film condensed to 14 minutes, battling album covers, bands that sing their instruments, a touching tribute to video blogs, and another chapter in Sarah's relentless love of K-Fed.

So let’s talk, briefly, of the new television season. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: Have you ever seen comedians be so serious? Typical Sorkin—the show sure can rock a crane shot—but you’d think these people were drafting the Constitution, not peddling fart jokes. 30 Rock premiered on Wednesday night, and recommended itself for future viewing: Is it possible Tracy Morgan will be funnier on a fake sketch show than he was on a real one? And, of course, you can insert a joke about my big gay crush on Tina Fey right here. Actually, a little to your right. Ahh, that’s perfect.

What else? Friday Night Lights is a pleasant reminder that I much prefer a show about football than an actual game. And what about Ugly Betty? Will the material ever become worthy of its charming lead actress? I actually am excited about The Nine. It’s like this season’s Lost, without the island, the plane crash, or the supernatural elements. But it does have a cast member from Party of Five.

If, like me, you’re underwhelmed by the new season, here’s suggested viewing from the web: The Animation Show recently released their list of “Top 10 Animated Shorts on YouTube”. They’re all worth watching, but number one is a jaw-dropping piece called “Fast Film,” directed by Austrian Virgil Widrich, which literally folds the history of movies into a 14-minute origami masterwork. According to the web site: “Filmmakers printed out some 65,000 individual images from 300 films, folded them into paper objects, arranged them in complex tableaux, and then brought them to life with an animation camera in a two-year production process.” Two years! I can’t even commit to a hair color for that long.

After watching “Fast Film,” you’ll want to know how Widrich did it. You can find that here.

A nice, albeit far less intricate, companion piece is the “Battle of the Bands” movie that’s been floating around this week. Album covers from various eras fight to the death, which is how they did it in my day, young man.

Did you ever wonder what a band would sound like if its members said the names of their instruments rather than playing them? OK, but it’s interesting anyway.

This week brought the news that YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen are currently having no problem getting laid. Also, that the site belongs to Google. As a video response, prominent YouTuber Mick Bianchi posted his touching tribute—with strings and piano!—to the awkward, often boring, sometimes sex-starved, strangely compelling beauty of the video blog.

But don’t give up on television yet, because television has the money and the manpower to be a uniting force in our society, and to recruit top-shelf talent to the small screen. Don’t believe me? Witness K-Fed in his CSI debut.

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