Look Around You
Did you know that if you combine water with nitrogen you get whisky? Did you know that Jean is taller than Imhotep? Did you know that the largest number may be 45 billion (although scientists speculate that there may be even larger numbers)? The British TV show Look Around You attempts to answer all these questions and literally several more in their series of educational shorts.
The videos, each about 8 minutes long, were a IRL meme before making the transition to online meme rather quickly. The episodes explain real science as we internet folk understand it (rather than the lies that get taught in school), and can be seen from time to time on forums or when somebody is complaining about how sucky season 2 turned out to be.
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Children who grew up in the late 70s and early 80s probably will remember going to school and being forced to watch boring and out of focus filmstrips and drab, washed out educational videos as VCRs slowly made their way into classrooms. A large amount of this “educational fare” brought to students was very cheaply made and so terribly produced they became legendary and achieved small cult status.
Two British fellows (Darth Maul and the other guy) took their love for those old school films and in 2002 made a series of videos for BBC2 earning them high praise, and, much later on, a bunch of money when the series became a hit on American television’s Adult Swim. Much later on, in 2005, a second series was made, but it pretty much sucked compared to the original episodes.
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—You have had enough time to solve your problem.
Each episode has the following parallels:
- The very obvious PSA style opening at the beginning of every show
- The dull monotone of the narrator
- The scientists use a pencil to point out the effects of many of the experiments, often to tragic and humorous results
- The “lazy guitar” music often used while cut scenes showing real life applications of the current subject
- Labels on beakers, bottles, jars, and other containers - for example, a jar of “Michelle” is right next to a beaker full of “Maths” can be seen on the Look Around You chemical shelf
- A disinterested, or even hostile student
- The narrator often refers to a text book and a copy book that should accompany the Look Around You series of videos. Viewers will be asked to turn to outlandish page numbers or to take some time to figure out a incredibly silly and complex problem. The DVD of the Look Around You series actually comes with both a copy book and a text book.
- It's from England, so it's really dry, and it ISN'T funny.
- The references to imaginary lab equipment named after people, e.g. "Now we transfer the resulting powder to an Anon flask."
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—One of the many spoof problems you will encounter on Look Around You.
The original series (referred to as "Module One") of Look Around You had 8 normal episodes and one pilot episode. Within each episode, there is a specific topic that the narrator will discuss. Along with the specific topic, there are also a few tests, cutscenes to real life events, and a lot of shit put there to confuse the viewer.
1. Maths – you could win your school a computerized toast system
3. Germs – germs come from Germany
7. Iron - otherwise known as Iron De Haviland or "Bumcivivilian."
9. Calcium – the pilot episode.
The second season of Look Around You, produced some time later than the first, is based on the now-hilarious British TV show "Tomorrow's World" and is not as funny as the original module; it's basically a morass of late-70s-style concentrated Awful and Smarm.
1. Music 2000
6. Inventor of the Year
Some very fine examples of the perverted science that Look Around You discusses:
The second module videos can be found here:
You may wish to take the Look Around You quiz that accompanies many of online videos. Here is a list and link to take each available quiz:
The folks at the Look Around You website have made you a copy of their Periodic Table of the Elements, suitable for framing or using as a desktop wallpaper:
The various sciences involving revolutionary Digital Disc Technology
- The Look Around You home page.
- Series 1 desktop wallpapers.
- Series 2 desktop wallpapers.
- Look Around You at IMDB.
- Your Vision of the Year 2000. Includes the i-Trak, a portable 8-trac music listening system.
- Mp3 file of the smash hit "Little Mouse" by Look Around You's Jack Morgan.
Look Around You is part of a series on
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Look Around You is part of a series on