alibi online
Free Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 V.18 No.4 | January 22 - 28, 2009 

Idiot Box

Science Fiction

“Look Around You” on Cartoon Network

You can argue over whether Cartoon Network’s recent move toward more non-animated entertainment (“Goosebumps,” “Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace,” “Tim and Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job!”) is a good thing or a bad thing. Or you could just shut up and enjoy the laughs you’re given. Cartoon Network’s latest Sunday night Adult Swim addition is a fine example. “Look Around You” is a welcome BBC import largely devoid of animation but perfectly suited for CN’s block of mature, late-night weirdness.

“Look Around You” is a straight-faced parody of old educational series from the late ’70s and early ’80s. The creators of “Look Around You” nail the low-budget look and patronizing tone of these junky old shows perfectly. I can still vividly recall sitting in class on rainy afternoons watching scratchy filmstrips of “The Search for Solutions,” a nine-part scientific documentary series narrated by Stacy Keach and featuring eerie music by Pat Metheny. (When is that coming out on DVD?)

Each episode of “Look Around You” concentrates on a different topic--from germs to math to computers to ghosts. The central joke here is that, for all its serious posturing, “Look Around You” provides wildly inaccurate information. In fact, “Look Around You” is best described as “anti-informative”--doling out such off-kilter nuggets as “germs originated in Germany before spreading rapidly throughout the rest of the world.” Did you know “maths” stands for “mathematical anti-telharsic harfatum septomin”? Spend a few episodes hanging around “Look Around You” and you’ll be able to dazzle your friends with brilliant esoteric information like “ghosts can’t whistle.”

The brief show (10 to 15 minutes, which is well in line with Adult Swim’s other offerings) jumps from segment to segment, discussing various factoids, proposing assorted questions and urging viewers to mark down answers in their corresponding classroom workbooks. Answers are graded at the end. Sort of. If you didn’t grow up watching cheap PBS filler, odds are good you won’t “get” what’s happening here. If, like me, you can easily call up those dull, rainy elementary school afternoons, “Look Around You” is dead on the mark.

The show is the work of Robert Popper (“Peep Show,” “The IT Crowd”) and Peter Serafinowicz (who’s been on dozens of British comedy shows, but is best known--oddly enough--as the voice of Darth Maul). Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll spot the occasional guest star like Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, Nick Frost from Shaun of the Dead or David Walliams of “Little Britain” fame.

There are only 14 episodes, so “Look Around You” really doesn’t have time to wear out its comedic premise. Catch it while you can, and be sure to show off your newfound knowledge. Everyone’s impressed by trivia about sulfur. Even if it’s wildly inaccurate.

“Look Around You” airs every Sunday night at 11 p.m. on Cartoon Network.



Trash at National Hispanic Cultural Center


After three boys picking trash in the slums of Rio de Janeiro find a wallet in the daily detritus of their local dump, they little imagine that their lives are about to change forever.


Trolleywood at Albuquerque Museum of Art and History


New Mexico Labor Film Festival at Center for Progress and Justice

More Recommended Events ››

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.