Sunday, October 15, 2006

If You Need Me Again, Here's My Headshot

Despite the awe-inspiring, extremely time-wasting neatness of YouTube, I'm still surprised that Google is buying it for $1.6 billion. To my layman's mind it seems excessive; I'm not sure how the site will achieve any profitability, or avoid being mired in massive copyright infringement lawsuits, given that (home videos aside) a big chunk of its appeal seems to be stitching together awkward tribute videos from TV show clips, or just uploading a bunch of Family Guy jokes. Speculation at lunch the other day at work was that YouTube will eventually get declawed like Napster, and similarly lose its appeal once its users can't do any of the fun, illegal stuff anymore.

Anyway, it's fun now, especially with an up-to-date computer that can handle it. One piece of copyright-infringey goodness I was happy to find is the entire 22-minute pilot (and only) episode of Lookwell, an Adam West vehicle created by Robert Smigel and Conan O'Brien in the early 90s that bombed spectacularly when it premiered. (O'Brien mentions it briefly and not by name in the unreasonably good commencement speech he gave at Harvard several years back.) In it, West plays a washed-up television actor who tries to solve real crimes because he used to play a detective on TV; mainly it's a showcase for the same hammy, borderline absurdist touches West brought to the old Batman series. The episode has an odd deadpan tone and hints, not entirely comfortably, at some depth to its main character, as West isn't entirely unaware of his embarrassments and failures. For the most part it's just goofy, though. If nothing else, find the scene where West tries to hash out a string of local car thefts while talking to a statue of William Shakespeare. Even though it only consists of one episode it's up there with my favorite TV shows; today, now that weird single-camera comedies without laugh tracks are fairly common, it probably could have lasted two or two and a half seasons before being unceremoniously axed.


Blogger Jack said...

Yeah, what Nate said.

I mean that literally. I found Lookwell on YouTube about two days ago, it having crossed my mind for some reason, and I was going to link to it on the blog this weekend.

I would have posted the title "Mind . . . can't help but . . . make . . . deductions," but otherwise, yeah, what Nate said.

10/15/2006 12:31 PM  

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