Look Around You

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Just...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.

History

<video type="youtube" id="MjV3XDFsjP4" width="200" height="200" desc="Episode 1 - Maths" frame="true" position="right"/>

   
 
Look around you...LOOK around YOU...JUST look around you...
 

 
 

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.


Description

<video type="youtube" id="bCWA7uevo_Q" width="200" height="200" desc="Episode 2 - Water" frame="true" position="right"/> <video type="youtube" id="57eh-Ty65u4" width="200" height="200" desc="Episode 3 - Germs" frame="true" position="right"/>

   
 
Stop fighting...now. Stop writing...now.
 

 
 

—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 “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."


   
 
Write that down in your copybook...Now.
 

 
 

Episodes

Module One

<video type="youtube" id="lsoT8ifhyuo" width="200" height="200" desc="Episode 4 - Ghosts" frame="true" position="right"/> <video type="youtube" id="fssAHO0_mvE" width="200" height="200" desc="Episode 5 - Sulphur" frame="true" position="right"/> <video type="youtube" id="2gnADXzeSHc" width="200" height="200" desc="Episode 6 - Music" frame="true" position="right"/>

   
 
It’s the Future and Queen Elizabeth III and Queen Elizabeth the IV are going to a party held by Queen Elizabeth V…
 

 
 

—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

2. Water

3. Germs – germs come from Germany

4. Ghosts

5. Sulphur

6. Music

7. Iron - otherwise known as Iron De Haviland or "Bumcivivilian."

8. Brain

9. Calcium – the pilot episode.

Module Two

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

2. Health

3. Sport

4. Food

5. Computers

6. Inventor of the Year

Quotes

Some very fine examples of the perverted science that Look Around You discusses:

   
 
But what is water? It's a difficult question because water is impossible to describe. One might ask the same about birds. What are birds? We just don't know.
 

 
 

—The Narrator

   
 
If you look carefully, you'll notice that the water has changed colour from invisible to brown.
 

 
 

—The Narrator

   
 
Thanks ants. Thants.
 

 
 

—The Narrator

   
 
Bless you, ants. Blants.
 

 
 

—The Narrator

   
 
One way in which ghosts are different from man is that they can't whistle. Try as they might, the most they can muster is a rather feeble hiss. Perhaps it's because their lips are transparent and their tongues are see-through?
 

 
 

—The Narrator

   
 
We will be using a household object famous for its iron content. Can you guess what it is? Yes, that's right. Champagne.
 

 
 

—The Narrator

   
 
In an average year we get through roughly forty tonnes of sulphur. This translates into approximately two and a half million individual matches. Since the company was formed we've produced 156,280,000 matches, and if we continue at the current rate of production, by the year 3500 we will have manufactured 900,000 billion billion billion billion billion billion matches.
 

 
 

—Peter Jackmond, match maker

   
 
Here's a state of the art, song-writing computer, the 'Harrington 1200.' You've probably never seen one yourself because it costs almost a thousand pounds.
 

 
 

—The Price tag reads £999.99½p

   
 
We have a DC current, provided by the battery, and an AC current, provided by the mains. We are using AC/DC because it is heavy metal.
 

 
 

—The Albumen is OUT NOW!

   
 
The brain is basically a wrinkled bag of skin, filled with warm water, veins and thought muscles. Think of it as a kind of modified heart, only with a mind or brain.
 

 
 

—On the Brain

   
 
The opposite of the brain is probably the bum. It's nowhere near as intelligent as the brain. It doesn't have to be as it only needs to make very basic calculations.
 

 
 

—Man enters restroom toilet and locks door.

   
 
Viewers may be pleased to know that Clive Pounds, who died during production of this program, has since come back to life.
 

 
 

—Look Around You season 2 - Food.


Video

The second module videos can be found here:


Look Around You - Health. Edited.


Look Around You - Computer Games.


Look Around You - Stay slim.


Look Around You - Synthesiser Patel.


Quiz Series

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:


Extra

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:

FRANCE???

The various sciences involving revolutionary Digital Disc Technology


See Also

External Links

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Look Around You is part of a series on

Media

Visit the Media Portal for complete coverage.

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Look Around You is part of a series on

SCIENCE!

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