Alan Resnick’s one of the individuals behind Wham City, who have created a few really damn fantastic if often disturbing shorts so far including “Unedited Footage of a Bear” and “This House Has People In It”, but this is definitely their funniest work, a fake infomercial that promises you the chance to live forever, though of course it’s not even close to being the case.
In the pilot Resnick plays “a hot young tech wizard” who’s hosting his own seminar promising the secret of immortality, though that secret is just AI version of themselves, and not very good ones at that. Or at the very least the examples we’re shown aren’t, as Alan’s own supposed back up version of himself has renamed himself Teddy and claims his wife is a weird floating ball.
The episode itself is basically structured in six different parts, all of which is inspired madness, with it starting with the origin tale where Alan explains how the idea came to him as a dream where a woman tried to seduce him with the line “Alan, I’m ready for you put your dirt in me” but then he’s shot “And it completely, completely destroyed my face”, which made him want to back himself up, and two months of hard work later he’d managed it. Which is silly for sure, but it’s beautiful silliness that made me laugh hard.
The next, and main, part of the show is the four step programme so that you can live forever, and that includes some enjoyably daft moments like Alan’s suggestion that it’s impossible to get to know yourself due to “The Schrader Clot” in everyone’s brain which prevents any amount of self awareness, but if you stare in the mirror for 5 hours a day then draw what you think you saw you can get around it. Which definitely does work too, I just tried it and came away happy and I’m sure you will do so too. That or Resnick is an evil mastermind who fooled even me, to be honest I’m no longer sure.
Resnick then explains how he also wants to make a 3d model of your head, and that is in ways which are as disturbing as you might imagine, before discussing the problems when it comes to the Uncanny Valley which involves a bizarre anecdote including a flesh covered stone, and the idea that he puts the model’s skin through various “stress tests” allows him to create some animations which are laugh out loud funny albeit the kind of thing which might haunt your nightmares.
Best of all is the final stage, where we get to see some of the various AI’s that Alan has created and boy are they an amazingly deranged group. So for example one man’s dead wife just goes on about being in a car, another woman’s duplicate complains about it being cold all the time, while what looks like a dying boy has a computer next to his bed where his duplicate just talks about boogie boards, despite the kid not liking them at all, and in a very funny show this part easily made me laugh the most.
It was a close run thing though, especially as throughout Teddy acts in a weird but amusing way as he rambles on about wanting to see his wife and then how when asked a random question he just says “My wife has hair” (even though this clearly isn’t the case), and seeing Alan becoming increasingly annoyed with him is responsible for some very funny moments too, especially when he complains “What you’re doing makes no sense and it breaks my heart…It’s fine, I’m not mad, I think it’s actually kind of manipulative, but it’s disappointing…” near the very end of the show.
This is something I really loved a great deal, as not only is the idea a fantastic one but it’s developed in gloriously weird ways. It’s an almost perfect parody of infomercials which are filled with self help nonsense, Resnick is the kind of host who is absolutely full of himself and confidently trots out ridiculous idiocy despite his creations being ridiculously flawed, and that he can’t see this makes it all the funnier. Resnick and co have a real way with dialogue too, which makes the piece feel almost believable but not quite, akin to an infomercial from a slightly off parallel universe.
According to Wikipedia it was pitched as a series but Adult Swim insisted that “no one would ever watch more than one episode”, but they were wrong, sure the immortality angle might have been explored in depth but I’d have loved to have seen them create further fake infomercials exploring other subjects, and so I shall forever hold a very, very tiny grudge against Adult Swim for not commissioning more.