In case you don't stay up until 4 a.m. watching Adult Swim while finding consolation in the stardust of a bong and the scrapings at the bottom of the Doritos bag, you may have missed out on "Too Many Cooks," the brilliant and surreal short video from Casper Kelly. And it's so, so much more than just a maddeningly catchy theme song.
It's a parody of '80s/'90s sitcoms that evolves (or devolves) into a peyote fever dream as scripted by Bob from Twin Peaks. It's Don Hertzfeldt’s classic Rejected cartoons updated for a stoner crowd who yearn for the days of Family Matters. It is Tim & Eric without the hostility, but WITH a machete murderer. Every time the joke starts to feel repetitive, it takes a left turn and morphs into something even weirder. It's an ambitious young Albany man's dream finally come to fruition. It's the best thing on the internet today, except for maybe this video. It's pretty much the closest the Internet Era has come to Cecil B. DeMille's "cast of thousands" epics.
Watching #TooManyCooks reminds me of when Lazy Sunday first aired on SNL. TV shifted off its axis a little then. Same with this.
— Joe Adalian (@TVMoJoe) November 7, 2014
Too Many Cooks is basically just another room in the Black Lodge with BOB, and it terrifies me.
— Allison Keene (@keeneTV) November 7, 2014
Time for me is now divided Pre-Too Many Cooks and Post Too Many Cooks http://t.co/SXuU6qoTJl
— Thomas Lennon (@thomaslennon) November 7, 2014
— Adam Nayman (@brofromanother) November 7, 2014
Almost done with my #TooManyCooks spec script. Does anyone have contact info for Drew Asparagus?
— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) November 7, 2014
I no longer understand the point of watching, making or writing about TV after seeing Adult Swim's TOO MANY COOKS. https://t.co/ru4BTsbq2z
— Andy Greenwald (@andygreenwald) November 7, 2014
TOO MANY COOKS belongs at the Museum of Modern Art.
— Jordan Hoffman (@jhoffman) November 6, 2014
You can tell a lot about a person by how far they get in the Too Many Cooks video.
— Ben Schwartz (@rejectedjokes) November 7, 2014
Kelly, a longtime Adult Swim vet (who has worked on everything from Harvey Birdman to Aqua Teen Hunger Force) and published author, told WSJ that he shot the video over the course of three days in October 2013. It took him a year of roping friends and coworkers into finishing the editing and post-production: “I was nervous if it would work for 11 minutes," he said. "You really have to figure out when it starts repeating, do you need to change it? Trying to get that timing right was tricky. It was a bear.”
Adult Swim has been producing late night faux informercials for awhile now, but none have quite caught on like this one: "I wanted [Too Many Cooks] to be how you misremember those [sitcoms]," he said about the inspiration for the video. "I think there’s something about a show’s opening that you get a Pavlovian reaction, where you’re expecting something. To not give them that is fun."
There are no current plans for a sequel, and Kelly seems shocked by the response it's gotten: "I figured no one would watch it more than once," he added. "It’s a feeling of bad that’s lurking in this very cheerful thing."