Netplay: Garfielf and weird YouTube

    YouTube is home to so much footage that it can be hard to remember just how diverse its selection can be. Nestled deep beneath the cat videos, full-length movies and K-Pop music videos that dominate view counts lingers an amazing amount of videos so delightfully idiosyncratic it’s hard to believe they exist.

    While this list isn’t comprehensive in the slightest, we’ve selected a series of videos that represent the possibilities that weird YouTube can provide. While your first encounter with any of the following might leave you in literal silence, there’s comedy gold if you let it grow on you.


    It’s hard to put into words what I love about “Garfielf.” If you’re brave enough to make it through even a few seconds of such an enigmatic video, I commend you, because I’m pretty sure it takes a special kind of lunacy (which I happen to possess) to enjoy.

    Here’s the basic premise: Take the beloved Garfield cartoon series, throw in a series of typos, computerized voiceovers, crudely-drawn animation, and erratic jazz music as a background, and you’ve got “Garfielf.” Again, if this stops you in your tracks, I don’t blame you.

    The beauty of this video is the way in which every single detail subtly plays with your expectations. Take, for example, the voiceovers. There’s nothing inherently funny about a computerized voiceover. But when it’s used to embody the character of Garfield, angrily declaring “I gotta have a good meal,” it just gets to me.

    Very little is grounded in reality in this video. But what makes the abstractness of “Garfielf” work is the fact that people do know the characters involved. Sure, it’s bizarre that Garfielf eats “lesaga.” It’s funny, though, because of the thematic connection to the actual comic.

    Ball Champions

    Continuing in the theme of horrifically strange YouTube videos, “Ball Champions” earns its place through sheer physical discomfort. The star of the show is Kyle Mooney, whose absurdity is nearly incomprehensible.

    To film “Ball Champions,” Mooney somehow managed to convince some person within the San Francisco Giants organization to allow him to conduct interviews both throughout the stadium and on the field. This person made a glorious mistake, because Mooney's interactions with fans, stadium employees, and Giants players are all equally absurd.

    Reactions to Mooney's non-questions (“Smell that green grass?”) vary wildly, from indifference to polite confusion to outright mockery (“Is that a question?”). It appears that Mooney is actually an alien, and simply didn’t watch enough human interaction to really learn how to behave like us, but it hasn’t stopped him from trying.

    Everything mentioned above says nothing about the best aspect of the video: the non-sequitur photos and animations throughout the video. Some are mildly related to the video (flaming baseballs, another team’s mascot), yet the vast majority are nonsensical (motorcycles, random couples). Their inclusion makes very little sense when you think about it, but the video wouldn’t be the same without them.

    Apparently people have caught onto the brilliance of Mooney’s weirdness. He made a brief appearance on a Parks and Recreation episode, playing a variant of the character he plays on “Ball Champions," and was also hired as a Saturday Night Live cast member. The world needs more confusing human behavior, and Mooney is doing his best to continue providing it.

    Jimmy Neutron Happy Family Happy Hour

    “Jimmy Neutron Happy Family Happy Hour” is very similar to “Garfielf,” taking an established, well-recognized slice of pop culture and rendering it unrecognizable. Again, computerized voices, poor animation and mispronunciation all contribute to the madness, leaving an incomprehensible mess of a video in its wake.

    At first, all seems normal: the first few seconds show a clip of the Neutron house from the actual Jimmy Neutron TV show. Then, the chaos begins. Jimmy’s mom is a 2D image, stretching up and down to talk. Jimmy’s dad looks like a fairly standard animated model, minus the shotgun he pulls out and shoots his wife with. And Jimmy is an abomination, rocking the actual character’s trademark slicked-up hair but with a robotic, unmoving gaze that’s nothing like the actual show.

    Of these videos, this one is probably the most quotable. The clip’s best moment offers up its most delightfully confusing quotable: when a pizza inexplicably slices through the air like a Frisbee, Jimmy states in monotone, “The pizza is aggressive.” There’s little rhyme or reason to either the pizza’s flight or Jimmy’s reaction, but the level of confusion induced makes only two reactions possible: stunned silence or uncontrollable laughter.

    Farming Simulator Mad Skill

    I don’t know about you, but when I think of the video game “Farming Simulator,” the first song to come to mind generally isn’t Skrillex’s “Bangarang.” Honestly, it’s hard to believe that a video game dedicated to the exciting travails of your typical corn harvester even exists. Yet, these two disparate forces come together for yet more madcap YouTube weirdness.

    As far as I can tell, "Farming Simulator Mad Skill" pulls footage directly from the video game, showing a famer harvesting crops, driving a tractor and plowing fields. The humor comes from the excitement the video's creator injects into the activities being shown. There's nothing particularly exciting about a combine harvester collecting wheat, but when that activity is described as "Gangster Paradise," the mismatch between the two is too ridiculous not to be anything but painfully funny. Combine that with the amount of noise coming from "Bangarang," and you've got weird YouTube paradise.

    Until I saw this video, my interest in farming life was little to none. But now I know that the typical farming life includes taking on Somalian pirates, driving by Iranian nuclear missile silos and driving over cars on a tractor. If you don't think the rural life is exciting after "Farming Simulator Mad Skill," you're missing out.

    Old Gregg

    Whereas the rest of these videos seem to be made by renegades, deliberately creating something weird to defy people's expectations, "Old Gregg" has surprisingly normal roots. The clip comes from a portion of "The Mighty Boosh," a British comedy show which aired on BBC 3 between 2004 and 2007. However, the fact that this video is implicitly endorsed by the British government doesn't make it any less jarring. If anything, it probably makes understanding its existence even stranger.

    "Old Gregg" tells the story of a fisherman named Howard, out late at night on a lake. Without warning, he's joined by Old Gregg, a reptilian, transsexual sea creature who continually mutters, "I'm Old Gregg!" If you're not already terrified by those words, you've got a thick skin for weird humor.

    As we come to learn, Old Gregg is a bit of a lost soul, cast off by his idiosyncratic behavior. He loves drinking Bailey's Irish Cream from a shoe. He wears a pink tutu. He got an A+ in Home Economics. Every detail is confusing enough by itself, but taken together there's little of this video that doesn't induce outright hysteria.

    The video takes an unexpectedly poignant turn, as we come to learn of "The Funk," a living creature whose milk gives those who drink it the power of funk music. After famous funk band Parliament accidentally kicks the funk off of its ship, Old Gregg discovers it under the water, protecting it until he offers to give Howard the power of funk.

    If any of the above made logical sense, there's probably some weird stuff running around in your head. Nevertheless, there's beauty to be found in one of the most confusing ten minutes you'll ever spend.


    blog comments powered by Disqus
    Please read our Comment Policy.