If you follow TV writers on Twitter, you started seeing this last night:
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
Dunno what’s crazier: that “Too Many Cooks” wasn’t made by Tim & Eric or there are people at Adult Swim more twisted than Tim & Eric.
— LIGHTEN UP, CRAIG! (@unclecrizzle) November 7, 2014
— Laura Prudom (@LauInLA) November 7, 2014
— Isaac Butler (@parabasis) November 7, 2014
So what even is this “Too Many Cooks”? Um, that’s not easy to explain. It starts out as a parody of ’80s sitcom opening credits, which is pretty much the definition of low-hanging fruit, extends the joke until it’s not funny anymore, and then, well, just watch:
What the hell was that? Allow us to offer a few surmises. What Casper Kelly, who’s apparently responsible for this demented fusion of discarded aesthetics, has done is mixed kitschy satire with a more thoroughly disturbing critique of enforced sitcom normalcy: Note how, in the final group photo, the TV patriarch is replaced with the machete-wielding serial killer, like “Twin Peaks'” Leland Palmer giving way to BOB. Like Don Hertzfeldt’s “Rejected,” “Too Many Cooks” — which apparently aired on Adult Swim at 4 a.m. in its “Informercials” slot — starts with easy humor and morphs into something closer to existential dread, changing so gradually at first you don’t notice you’re being sucked into a black hole of utter despair. Is this the future of TV, or its antimatter equivalent? Decide for yourself once you’ve picked your brain up off the floor.
Update: Entertainment Weekly has an interview with Kelly, where he explains:
I’m a fan of David Lynch and Charlie Kaufman and Tim and Eric, and I wanted to try to do something weird like that. I was working intuitively, and there’s a quote Elvis Costello has that I really like. He said, “You start out imitating your heroes, and the way you f–k up becomes your style.” I was just working on a feeling, working intuitively. I could analyze it but that’s how I approached it originally. I look forward to reading all the analyses.