Interested in opening your mind to see the films, shows and games you love from a new perspective? Those over at Full Fat Videos have the essays you’re looking for!
Ever sat back to enjoy some mindless hours of Animal Crossing or perhaps eagerly switched off your brain to engross yourself in the latest episode of The Great British Bake Off? These items of popular culture aren’t typically analysed by academia in universities. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t complex or lack the merit of being studied at all. This is where Matt and Chris from Full Fat Videos come in, for they dive into the pop culture that we all love and present them to us in a totally new way!
Thanos Deserved to Win | Video Essay
Thanos could be the greatest villain in the entire Marvel Character Universe. That is certainly a tall order to fill, especially given over a decade of iconic villains, from the godly Ego to the eclectic Loki. So how does one write a villain to top them all? In this video essay, Matt and Chris explain that making one as iconic and memorable as Dark Vader from Star Wars isn’t as simple as making their deeds unquestionably unforgivable. It’s also important to give them empathy and a motive that, through twisted knowledge, you yourself completely understand.
Thanos is unquestionably evil, for he culled half of all life in the universe, including half of the Marvel characters we’ve grown to love over the years, but we also feel empathy for him because, in his twisted mind, he genuinely thought he was doing the universe a favour. Not only that, nobody was more driven than Thanos to help the universe, and there was nobody who worked harder than him to do what they thought was right. The complexity that arises from this duality elevates Thanos from merely a terrifying villain into an iconic one.
How The Great British Bake Off Creates A Finalist | Video Essay
Each year, The Great British Bake Off showcases the delectable delights baked by the best bakers from around the country. It’s also a reliable annual serving of memorable and bubbly characters who we cheer for week after week. We become attached to the contestants, hold our breaths as they remove their black forest gateaus from the tin and cry when their soggy bottoms result in their leaving the show. All this emotion is somehow created from just a baking show; how do we possibly become so invested in these contestants?
Matt and Chris propose three main archetypes Bake Off uses to mould their finalists: the seasoned pros, the underdogs and the wildcards. In season seven, they believe Jane fills the position of the seasoned pro, for she’s portrayed as being much more confident and self-assured than the others with her decades of baking experience. She was quick to prove her abilities by being the first star-baker, but, unfortunately, lacked something new and exciting. Her attempts to break out of her comfort zone and surprise the audience gives her character development throughout the series. Andrew, meanwhile, is the underdog. Usually portrayed as the youngest contestant in the competition, they show promise at the beginning by making rookie mistakes. However, as the weeks go by, they gain confidence and ability. Candice is the wild card, injecting turbulence and providing some of the most memorable moments of the show! (Who could forget her peacock showstopper?)
Unlike popular films or books, reality shows don’t often get analysed by academia, so it’s refreshing to see Bake Off under this lens. Thanks to Matt and Chris, we discovered that we need more than just perfectly textured genoise sponges to create a great Bake Off. The combination of these archetypes is what makes the show as engaging, emotionally draining and loved as it is.
The Subtlety of the Inbetweeners | Video Essay
The Inbetweeners is iconic for its crass jokes and childish demeanour. Who could forget the time Neil bludgeoned a fish to death with his fist, or Simon’s wardrobe malfunction at the fashion show? In this video essay, Matt and Chris show an entirely new side of the show we haven’t before considered, revealing to us a smarter and more thoughtful Inbetweeners than we previously realised, one that is full of character moments and a great emphasis of friendship between the main cast, setting it apart from other sitcoms.
The story of the protagonist, Will, is the example they use to show the sitcom’s deep commitment to showing what true friendship looks like. The saga starts when the nerdy and deeply uncool Will chooses to abandon his friends in favour of a fling with the most popular girl in school, Charlotte. Simon informs a stubborn Will that she’s only going out with him for a bet. This proves to be true when she makes a surprise appearance as a contestant at the school’s charity dating show in front of everyone, humiliating Will.
While most sitcoms would use this moment for a quick laugh, Will’s friends see his anguish, and after school they all come over to his house to welcome him back into the group. Small heartwarming moments of friendship are scattered all across The Inbetweeners, and we are so glad Matt and Chris revealed them to us!
The Economics of Animal Crossing | Video Essay
What can Animal Crossing teach us? Apart from perhaps some tips on interior design, most would think not much. It’s just a relaxing game with an adorable visual style and a laid back approach to governorship, right? As always, the boys at Full Fat Essays have turned everything we know upside down and found out that Animal Crossing can actually prove that the primary driver of humanity is our dominance comparative to others! This might take some explaining…
The Greek phrase, Homo economicus, or Economic Man, refers to the idea that humans, and thus our economic system, are driven by the desire to survive and thus the introduction of immortality is assumed to make the system collapse. Funnily enough, this economic theory is entirely disproved by Animal Crossing! In a world where the mayor is immortal and doesn’t even need any sustenance to survive, the will of the player to continue playing doesn’t come from not wanting to die, rather it is the drive to constantly improve your house to show off to your neighbours that is the main incentive to continue trading turnips, catching insects and shaking money out of trees! This essay reminds us of the somewhat sad reality of the human condition, for even in a perfect world where money grows on trees, all we really want is a bigger tree.
Doctor Who: Moffat’s Dalek problem | Video Essay
Wondered why the Daleks from Doctor Who haven’t been scaring you lately? It could simply be you’ve grown up since 2005, when Christopher Eccleston’s terrifying Dalek episode first aired, or perhaps plungers look less threatening in 1080p? (HA!) Matt and Chris, however, propose there’s more to it than just that.
The Doctor is defined by the mercy and respect he shows to all his defeated enemies, including some particularly nasty ones like the Sontarans and the Slitheen, often giving them second chances most super-heroes couldn’t dream of. This morality is always maintained right until he (and now she) encounters a Dalek, where their PTSD from the Time War transforms the Doctor into a terrified soldier, whose only objective is to now utterly defeat the Daleks and wipe them from existence. The Daleks are clearly not your standard monster of the week.
Recently, without anything to explain it, Daleks are now less threatening. The Doctor is no longer terrified of the appearance of just a single Dalek, like in Christopher Eccleston’s episode, for they’re quite happy to crack out jokes in the middle of a fully populated Dalek Parliament, and even brave enough to defend against a whole Dalek ship wielding just a plunger.
The Working Class Heroics of JaackMaate | Video Essay
For the last video essay on our list, we chose one a former TenEighty cover star, JaackMaate! Also known as Jack Dean, he’s captured the keen eye of Matt in a way that other more standard formulaic vloggers haven’t. The question is, what sets Jack apart?
Although Jack did start out making regular vlogs, his channel has recently become a place for critical commentary on the greed of certain YouTubers, with the corrupting power of consumerism and classism being major themes. He plays with a hypothesis that says long-term success can only result with their ruin. Attempting to preserve a grounded relatable friendship whilst transitioning the channel to a multi-million dollar business has seen some regrettable unethical advertisements and the general ignorance of the lives of their audience.
Unlike more malicious commentary channels, Jack doesn’t attack the YouTubers, for he acknowledges it’s difficult for someone in a privileged position to put themselves in the shoes of someone less fortunate. Full Fat Videos acknowledges Jack’s efforts to bring this problem into the consciousness of not only the public, but also the YouTubers in question in a thoughtful and fair way. Jack’s smart critical commentary is what YouTube creators have sorely needed.
Your understanding of popular culture has been transformed forever.
Who knew that The Inbetweeners was actually about being a good friend, or that Thanos is a strangely understandable guy? You’d be happy to know there’s way more from where these came from, so if you’re keen to keep learning more, we certainly recommend you to check them out.
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