A few weeks ago Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network aired a continuous 1970 – 1990’s sitcom intro spoof for a show called Too Many Cooks. The 12 minute bit was hidden in your program guide as Off-Air. As I sit typing this I’ve caught another installment called ‘Nature’, but that’s another post. You should watch it too.
Too Many Cooks was a creative, return to the hilarious, surreal genre that began with ‘Space Ghost: Coast-to-Coast’ in the 1990s. Adult Swim started a string of hilarious bizarre comedies, but as it grew in popularity [AS] had devolved into live-action satire of major networks, and 2-3 hours of Seth McFarlane reruns. Shows that are at best retreads of old jokes and just references to pop-culture.
There were higher quality shows in terms of production value, but it didn’t feature the ‘out-there’ content that I had always loved. If I wanted higher quality shows I wouldn’t be watching Cartoon Network. It’s an off-shoot network of TBS that was created because Ted Turner bought a variety pack of bankrupt media outlets like I buy variety packs of cereal. Ted ate up all the Cheerios, Raisin Bran, and Frosted Flakes of media, and was left with a box of Lucky Charms. And so the Cartoon Network was born. I digress.
Space Ghost, Harvey Birdman, AQTHF, and The Venture Bros. had sadly become a bunch of Comedy Central comics making fun of the studios and networks where they all were trying to get jobs. They have some funny episodes, but it’s not great comedy to reverse-engineer the boring cop/legal/medical/political dramas on the major networks. I forgot about Adult Swim for a few years.
By sheer luck I found Too Many Cooks, part of Adult Swim’s Off-Air, and I’m happy I did. It starts out just paroding the classic 1970-90s sitcoms, but it becomes so much more. I’m never going to re-watch an episode of CSI, Scandal, or even watch them once. And I’m not going to watch or re-watch their parodies. However I just found myself re-watching ‘Too Many Cooks’ and then analyzing the video. All of which has caused me to produce this post. Must be some quality in that.
If you want to see a bad case of over-analyzing go check out what the New Yorker had to say.
In an era of ‘journalism’ being a four-sentence blog post that links to another ‘article’ which is nothing but a link or in-line YouTube video, Too Many Cooks demonstrates creating something new is the only way to inspire people to create on their own.
“Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country