As I write this, I’m on an airplane, watching the in-flight entertainment: videos of animals trying to lick stuff out of the bottoms of glass containers. Everyone around me, from the annoying 5-year-old across the aisle to the gruff, tattooed biker dude to the blaze teenager is enraptured. But not me. I find this to be an insult to my aesthetic and intellectual...
...oh, wait. Those silly animals, they keep getting their heads stuck in things! A Corgi with his head deep in a jar of gravy. A kitten with her head in a tall water glass. Oh, wait, now it’s a French Bulldog pushing around a giant ball. Oh, oh! Now it’s a cat trying to open a door, but the handle is just too high. Poor little dude!
The sad thing is, I’m not even being facetious. I absolutely LOVE videos of animals doing funny shit. As I’ve mentioned before, such videos make me so happy it’s embarrassing. And yet, I realize what I’m watching is a horrible, horrible show; one that represents the demise of narrative storytelling in our culture. The whole thing is an aesthetic nightmare—there’s even a cartoon border around the videos featuring clouds and daisies.
This in-flight video must’ve been mandated by the Homeland Security folks. The reasoning? Anybody, when faced with the choice of hijacking an airplane and watching overly-excited hamsters try to leap out of a habi-trail, would rather find out if he hamster video wins first prize in the Funny Rodents category.
The show even features veterinarians who, for some reason, narrate the events (professors, perhaps, at the University of the Obvious). “Boy, that little guy really wants that gravy!” Another pundit is an “Animal Lover/Comedian”(/Guy Desperate for a SAG card.)
Why are animal videos so compelling? Is it because I have the attention span of that zany little hamster that keeps using his hamster wheel to propel himself out of his cage? Aww, a kitten falling asleep in someone’s hands! Why are you so cute, sleepy kitten? Or you, arm-stretching lemur (are you a lemur?)?
Why can’t I stop watching? The cute toxicity ceiling is reaching Chernobyl levels. Oh, wait! A fluffy, white longhaired bunny has made friends with a schnauzer! They’re playing together! Squeee!
I am so full of shame. This is irony-free, sacrcharin-sweet Sweetness is the sort of thing that normally makes me want to wretch. But I can’t, because I’m too busy smiing and going awwwwww…
If anyone asks, I totally hate this show.