On Max Headroom: The Most Misunderstood Joke on TV

Previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , , ,

10 Responses:

  1. McDanno says:

    Timeline when I saw this existed:

    - /me thinks "oh god, yet another max headroom deconstruction, ok fine, let's see it"
    - clicks through
    - reads pinned comment
    - immediately watches the video front to back because holy shit

  2. Juha Autero says:

    The problem with bringing Max Headroom is that what started as satire of liberal view of conservatives ended with violent attack on Capitol. Either it doesn't live up to its potential or it starts nuclear war because Americans still don't get satire and have nukes.

  3. I love this video except for a few quibbles and I am very glad I can comment on them here without the video’s creator seeing them because they did a great job otherwise. The first of them is the damn “cable” bit, which is just entirely wrong as a commenter on the YouTube video mentioned, all of the late night talk shows with any audience were on broadcast television, and the idea that there were so many. There may have been a few but it’s not really arguable who mattered on any large scale for the 90’s and at least the 80’s and those were Carson, Leno (ugh) and Letterman and you could enjoy all or none of those shows or hate them and it didn’t matter. There was some good comedy on at least one of them if not two and that’s gone now, there isn’t money in re-airing those shows so they’re almost impossible to properly enjoy now. The new hosts are almost all either not funny NFT grifting scum or just not funny and as far as I know nobody cares or watches much of late nite anymore.

    The real damage in “Talking heads” was always TV news and that might have been better to go off on for the purposes of the discussing Max Headroom. We have great evidence of this now with the local news hijacking by Sinclair and other groups, late nite comedy and celebrity interviews was never the news and I don’t think anyone confused it for that. Defunding local schools and housing and other services in exchange for giving everything to law enforcement wasn’t at the hands of Leno and Letterman and Carson, it was Ronald Reagan and “unbiased” local news that always prints and airs whatever the police say.

    I guess these aren’t small quibbles at this point because this reminds me of the cheap shot in the video at Sesame Street. Sesame Street is a fantastic children’s program that could still be in the hands of public television if it was funded properly instead of being stolen for first-run by WB for HBO. It’s so bizarre the video take a shot at celebrities being on Sesame Street and comparing those to late nite. Bringing celebrities onto Sesame Street helps Sesame Street reach its audience.

    But, still, besides all that I’m glad Max Headroom is getting views, and I hope the video’s creator never sees this remark, because making anything for YouTube isn’t fun and they don’t deserve criticism for being less aware of the past and not as far along with their political analysis.

    • Eric says:

      This video is about a year old and I think I was the first person to comment on it pointing out that the creator seemed confused about cable vs. broadcast TV?

      From a comedy perspective I don't think it necessarily matters if you get every reference. I've met plenty of fans of Tim & Eric Awesome Show over the years who are far too young to remember the insipid late night TV broadcasts they were making fun of, but they still somehow get the jokes anyway through cultural osmosis.

      • Jason Kaczor says:

        Yeah - having lived with both broadcast/over-the-air and occasionally cable (if the parents were renting a place where it was included), I always wanted cable - that was the preferred alternative; better shows and a complete lack of appalling late night talk-shows, endless news, horrid variety shows and vapid sitcoms that clogged the airwaves every night.

        People forget that HBO once stood for "Home Box Office" and was the penultimate of cable options for watching movies at home without renting them on physical media, initially didn't even have ads IIRC. (Up in Canada, we didn't get it during the 80's AFAIK - instead we had the much lower-rent "Superchannel" option, still better than OTA)

        • jwz says:

          Pfffff, I thought everybody knew that HBO stood for "Hey, Beastmaster's On".

          Also that's not what penultimate means.

          • dzm says:

            Also that's not what penultimate means.

            What if that's exactly what he meant for it to mean? Maybe Jason is a big Skinemax fan.

  4. Dude says:

    Finally got around to watching this video - incidentally, just after finally watching The Suicide Squad (the new one, not the Jared Leto one) and having rewatched Demolition Man just the other day.

    I mention that because the running them of the former is that the US never acts in anyone's best interests (not even its own interests, which often conflict), and the latter (and I've said this aloud for years now) is clearly a right-leaning "satire" of a full-fledged leftist government, complete with enforced political correctness and a revolving-door prison system. Granted, the flick still has some funny moments.

    Between Brian de Palma's Blow Out (about post-Nixon distrust in US institutions and iconography) and John Carpenter's They Live (a 94-min "Fuck You!" to Reagan and Reaganomics), Max Headroom conceptually fits in perfectly. Too bad he never got a single definitive work to make all perfect viewing party.

  • Previously