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"I've got Kevin Costner on the phone. He'll know what to do for sure."
June 10, 2010 11:55 AM   Subscribe


 
Eh. The fundamental conceit of this video is that BP are idiots for not just wiping up the oil and moving on with their life. Tragically clueless.
posted by effugas at 12:06 PM on June 10, 2010 [11 favorites]


It (the video, the situation) is really not funny.
posted by headnsouth at 12:07 PM on June 10, 2010


I liked it. The amateurishness of the film just adds another element.
posted by tybeet at 12:09 PM on June 10, 2010


I think the fundamental conceit is that BP has demonstrated amazing stupidity from day -1000. It's not meant to be a direct analogy to oil-spill cleanup. The parallels were there to generate absurdity humor value.

In short, I thought it was funny.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:12 PM on June 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


A better analogy would be attempting to pour boiling coffee into a flimsy cup on top of a person's head, with limited safety equipment and when no kind of burn first aid even exists, and their delay in cleaning it up means that more and more people become horribly burned and scared for the next 70-80 years.
posted by fontophilic at 12:13 PM on June 10, 2010 [13 favorites]


It was amusing, if inaccurate. Comedy isn't usually very funny when you force it to conform perfectly to real life. The incongruity is what makes it funny.
posted by wierdo at 12:13 PM on June 10, 2010


Yeah, it's sorta funny and what does work about it is that it shows BP is clueless in dealing with the public, which has been so freakin' true.

And yes, it would have been even more accurate if it had begun with somebody pouring the coffee and there was ome guy telling them that it was going to spill because of the way they were doing it. And then when the spill happened that guy died.

But that really wouldn't have been funny.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:19 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am trying to imagine that done by people who can act, instead of mug.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:21 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would have been really funny if the office had been at the bottom of the Gulf. And the coffee had been under intense pressure. And had been oil.

No, wait. That would not have been funny.

The video made me smirk a little.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:25 PM on June 10, 2010


I am trying to imagine a world in which this FPP won't get top-killed.
posted by kaseijin at 12:25 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would have liked this more if it had had sharper teeth. Perhaps if a janitor had been present, been mauled, and then been forced to sign a release before they let him leave the office. Perhaps if the shot of the table day 47 had included heaps of the coffee-sodden corpses of dogs and cats. Maybe if a drawling fat politician had burst in and declared the conference room just fine, nothing to see here.

Nah. Now I'm just making it even less funny. I know we need to laugh and I know satire is a weapon of great power, but the magnitude of this disaster (and my proximity to it) is such that viewing this just made me even angrier.

I mean this is possibly the biggest fuck-up in the history of global corporate fuck-ups. Point and laugh at the people who let it happen AFTER their heads are on pikes.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:25 PM on June 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


missing the bit where the reason they don't just clean it up immediately is that it would require staunching the flow of coffee from that particular source FOREVER, thus rendering their entire investment in the project lost.
posted by philip-random at 12:29 PM on June 10, 2010


Eh. The fundamental conceit of this video is that BP are idiots for not just wiping up the oil and moving on with their life. Tragically clueless.

It (the video, the situation) is really not funny.

I am trying to imagine that done by people who can act, instead of mug.

I mean this is possibly the biggest fuck-up in the history of global corporate fuck-ups. Point and laugh at the people who let it happen AFTER their heads are on pikes.


Good call, everyone! This video would clearly be more funny if only it were serious!

The real comedy here is mefi's attempt to remake this same sketch with a goddamn plate of beans in the middle of the table.
posted by vorfeed at 12:29 PM on June 10, 2010 [30 favorites]


I would have liked this more if it had had sharper teeth. Perhaps if a janitor had been present, been mauled, and then been forced to sign a release before they let him leave the office.

or just have somebody get badly scalded by the initial spill. And where's the sloppy attempt to blame it all on the Obama administration?
posted by philip-random at 12:30 PM on June 10, 2010


Astro Zombie: I am trying to imagine that done by people who can act, instead of mug.

I'm going to guess you must have to imagine a lot if you ever want to enjoy UCBcomedy.com videos then.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:34 PM on June 10, 2010


Fucking magnates! How do they work?
posted by oulipian at 12:36 PM on June 10, 2010 [28 favorites]


The redlettermedia guy who reviews The Phantom Menace should review BPs work.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:37 PM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's a complaint I have about a lot of comedy videos.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:38 PM on June 10, 2010


It's a funny little video, not a documentary about the gulf oil spill. None of your suggestions would make this video more funny.
posted by chunking express at 12:40 PM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


oulipian, funniest thing I've read all day. I just spit coffee at my...

oh wait.
posted by desjardins at 12:41 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


It wasn't funny because it was so obvious.
posted by Doohickie at 12:42 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is kind of like that oil spill down in the gulf right now.
posted by Fizz at 12:44 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thinking about it more, for this to have worked for me, I would have to buy it's premise -- that BP is just incredibly, stupidly incompetent. But that's not an especially sharp satire for me, since I don't think apelike stupidity and an inability to fix a simple problem is the cause here. I think it's a malicious, greedy desire to make as much money without concerning yourself about the world, or your employees, or preparing for the eventual mess-ups, or making sure you know what to do when they happen -- not because you're incompetent, but because all that costs money, and you're not going to spend one penny more than you have to, even if it kills people, even if it destroys the entire gulf coast.

Didn't get much of that here. No, just some people not understanding what paper towels are used for, or, at least, doing a rather poor job of pretending.

I guess I just like my satire with a knife in its hand. This came carrying softballs.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:51 PM on June 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


Who plays the part of the conservatives so bent on deregulation that they doomed us all?
posted by DU at 12:52 PM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


>This is kind of like that oil spill down in the gulf right now.

...as the unfunny goes on and on and on and on.... ariston!
posted by dabitch at 1:04 PM on June 10, 2010


I don't get it, why don't they just wipe it up and be done with it?
posted by mazola at 1:23 PM on June 10, 2010


Problem is, as soon as you see the title, you can pretty much write it out yourself. Unless the team has got something really spectacular or unexpected , there's sort of no point in the doing.

But I suppose if comedy is your job, you have to produce regardless. Tough profession.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:46 PM on June 10, 2010


I mean this is possibly the biggest fuck-up in the history of global corporate fuck-ups. Point and laugh at the people who let it happen AFTER their heads are on pikes.

You think so?
posted by Djinh at 1:49 PM on June 10, 2010


missing the bit where the reason they don't just clean it up immediately is that it would require staunching the flow of coffee from that particular source FOREVER, thus rendering their entire investment in the project lost.

No. No. No. No. The well will be closed and it was clear ever since the blowout that it was going to be closed. It had not even been decided on whether that well was ever going to be a producing well. The 100 million to drill a new hole is not that much compared to the cleanup process. (even a half-handed one like they are doing.) What BP has been doing to stop the spill has been pretty much what anyone else would have done. Almost certain to fail but it's probably better than waiting for the relief wells to finish. This is why I found the government's demand that more oil be captured soon so relieving. They wouldn't demand something impossible because that would either paint them as unrealistic or weak because the demands were not met. The fact that they are demanding this means that it's probably achievable.

BP was very much underprepared for this kind of event but keeping the oil leak going has absolutely no upside for them.


On to the video: I felt it was trivializing and simplifying a very serious matter.
posted by Authorized User at 1:51 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find this comic on the subject to be much funnier, specifically regarding the overly-simplistic way that laypeople tend to think about the task at hand.
posted by davejay at 2:04 PM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Authorized User, would you please stop speaking rationally here? How else may paranoia prosper?
posted by philip-random at 2:21 PM on June 10, 2010


“Shit dude, at first I thought it was just like residual flames. I mean sure it was bad, but it wasn’t an ongoing situation. Then I was pretty sure the sprinklers would kick on and take care of it, so it didn’t seem worth mentioning. Finally, I figured the flames would just burn the cafeteria; no way they’d spread to the rest of the school.”

“Why in God’s name would you assume so many things that just get more consecutively retarded as they go on?”

“Weed?” Wank offered, reasonably.

“Oh, right. Ha ha, do you know I’m so high that I actually forgot I was high? I was like ‘Man, Tony, why are you doing this? This does not seem like a good idea.’ I totally spaced on the drugs.”

“Dude, inferno,” Wank reminded him.

“Oh yeah. Shit! What do we do?!”

“I’ve got it,” Wank exclaimed, fumbling through his pockets, at last coming up with his lighter, “we burn this fucker down!”

“It’s… already on fire.”

“Welp, I’m out of ideas.”


From the ever awesome Robert Brockway.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:32 PM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


It wasn't funny because it was so obvious.

Many people would disagree with this. The skit is very obvious, but what does that take away from the message or humor? This is classic satire; there is a skill to simplifying a terribly horrific and complicated tragedy into an easily understood and humorous skit/book/work of art/etc.

Finding humor in tragedy is difficult because we feel guilty about deriving pleasure from others' suffering. Satire justifies its humor by infusing a commentary - you might have had a laugh but there was a good message. Some believe that all humor is at the expense of someone or something's misery, but you allow yourself to enjoy it because you can feel empathy/sympathy. Whenever Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, etc. parodies Clinton, Bush, Obama, or anyone - there always is a real tragedy at the behind the joke. You forgive yourself for enjoying it because you understand the deeper message and you move on with your life, confident that your moral compass is pointed in the right direction. (However, if none of this applies to you, congrats, you are a very strongly resolved person).

Why shouldn't humor be both obvious and obscure? Where one finds humor depends on personal tastes. More importantly, amidst working to right all the injustices in the world, we could all use some more laughter in our lives. Everyone on this planet will be impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Spill, so we are all in the same office building together, whether you like it or not. You can be the grumpy guy in the corner or you can join the regular folks over by the water cooler that are ripping on management. I thought this was hilarious, as is most UCB stuff since the early days, but that's just my opinion.
posted by rainman84 at 2:34 PM on June 10, 2010


How long will Mexico wait to sue the United States of America for contaminating its shores?

This is the biggest train wreck of a debacle since Anna Nicole Smith!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:51 PM on June 10, 2010


This is funny. I vote funny.
posted by Stephen Elliott at 3:11 PM on June 10, 2010


Eh. The fundamental conceit of this video is that BP are idiots for not just wiping up the oil and moving on with their life. Tragically clueless.

Really? Sounds spot on to me.

I thought it was fairly funny.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:12 PM on June 10, 2010


I'm fine with comedy sketches where people act like idiots when doing a simple task, so that's not the problem. I like that Kids in the Hall sketch where the guy has a piece of food on his face.

But unless the buffoonery is an actual satire of the actions of BP, then it feels like the sketch comedy equivalent of those guys that sell cheap unlicensed toys with celebrity faces on them. "Hey, Tiger Woods just got cheating! Let's throw his head on the Seymour Butz doll and crank those out!"
posted by RobotHero at 3:25 PM on June 10, 2010


The real comedy here is mefi's attempt to remake this same sketch with a goddamn plate of beans in the middle of the table.
So you're saying that MeFi is trying to spill the beans on the BP disaster?
posted by cotterpin at 3:31 PM on June 10, 2010


On to the video: I felt it was trivializing and simplifying a very serious matter.

Ditto. We can argue about whether they should have been there in the first place, but the solution isn't just getting a big roll of paper towels.

Also, 11 people lost their lives.
posted by gjc at 4:03 PM on June 10, 2010


It would have been a lot funnier if they had simply cut the whole thing:

1. guy spills coffee;

2. suits react in horror;

3. end.
posted by bwg at 4:32 PM on June 10, 2010


I didn't find the video funny. I understand using humor to deal with tragedy, I understand the concept that all humor comes from some form of tragedy.
With more and more tragic news and discouraging displays of horrible behavior on the part of humans everywhere, I find I don't resort to humor in these cases much anymore, and I don't want to laugh about it anymore. This incident just isn't funny. Also, and most importantly, this video just wasn't well done enough to be funny even if I still saw some use for humor to overcome tragedy.
posted by Jeeb at 4:57 PM on June 10, 2010


Needs James Carville on a burning alligator.
posted by localroger at 5:19 PM on June 10, 2010


Jesus Christ is Metafilter on its collective period today or something? It was funny. End of story.
posted by MattMangels at 5:57 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ is Metafilter on its collective period today or something? It was funny.
That the second sentence comes from the author of the first pretty much reinforces that it wasn't funny.
posted by bonaldi at 6:54 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The video was funny but the Brockway article linked above is way, way better. Seriously read it if you haven't already.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:01 PM on June 10, 2010


Jesus Christ is Metafilter on its collective period today or something? It was funny. End of story.

There is only one period here, sir, and it is most certainly not mine.
posted by setanor at 7:50 PM on June 10, 2010


None of your suggestions would make this video more funny.

I've got it: It would have been funnier if they had deliberately poured weak coffee to disperse the coffee that they spilled.

No?
posted by ionnin at 8:04 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


gjc: "but the solution isn't just getting a big roll of paper towels."

Has anyone tried paper towels? Sponsored by Bounty.

I found the video amusing. wierdo: "It was amusing, if inaccurate. Comedy isn't usually very funny when you force it to conform perfectly to real life. The incongruity is what makes it funny."
posted by IndigoRain at 12:52 AM on June 11, 2010


This video should not be confused with "How Metafilter Cleans Up an Oil Spill," which involves the following steps:

1. Note that the oil spill really is not a very good oil spill.

2. Note this again, several times, without much variation.

3. Explain at least four ways the oil spill could have been a better oil spill.

4. Throw a pissy panty party when someone points out that the oil spill really isn't all that bad and maybe we're being a little harsh.

5. Explain, in great and unnecessary detail, exactly why the oil spill wasn't a good oil spill. Sound as learned and scientific as possible so everyone will know you're a true authority on oil spills. Include subtext that implies that these things can always be broken down rationally, and that nobody can perform a thorough textual analysis of this oil spill like we can.

6. Explain at least three more ways the oil spill could have been a better oil spill.

7. Imply thoroughly that people who actually spend their time, you know, spilling oil really aren't very good at spilling oil, and the world would be a much oilier place if those of us who hang around on Metafilter making educated critiques were in charge of spilling oil, and if we felt like it we could totally spill oil all the hell over the place like the world has never seen, but we don't feel like it right now. But we totally could do it better than the people who are doing it in this example.

8. Seriously, why does everyone suck but us?
posted by hifiparasol at 1:20 AM on June 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's not funny. Groucho Marx couldn't make me laugh about this one.
posted by Twang at 5:14 AM on June 11, 2010


Twang: "It's not funny. Groucho Marx couldn't make me laugh about this one."

Well, yeah. 'Cos he's dead.
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:56 AM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


I really liked when early on, the lady tried to stop the oil from spreading to the laptop, putting her hands down, confidently exclaiming, "boom." Good pun. This was a funny video, you guys.
posted by intelligentless at 10:44 AM on June 11, 2010


Okay, they *have* tried paper towels. Epic fail.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:41 PM on June 11, 2010


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