Is Weird the New Brilliant?

Entertainment is getting stranger, but it’s also getting more profound. Is there a connection between the strange and the inspired?

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. NOPE.

    Well no to this being some new phenomenon. I think the word you’re looking for Doug is: SUBVERSIVE.

    Yeah, there’s always been subversive shows, especially going back to the 80s and the proliferation of media since then. There seems like there are more of these weird “brilliant” subversive shows now because there is more media and entertainment being produced than ever before.

    • Some examples: The Simpsons were considered subversive in their day, and quite brilliant and weird compared to what had come before. Animaniacs, Beavis and Butthead, Liquid Television, Ren and Stimpy, Heavy Metal, Weird Science, Harvey Birdman, Red Dwarf, etc…

      What also adds to the proliferation of the “weird, brilliant” and dare I say “subversive” media, is that the mainstream really has become absolute lowest common denominator with it’s dancing shows and vapid people being mean reality TV. This was aided by the rise of the nerd through alternative media and attitudes changing for things like: Superheroes, comics, and manga.

      Again, the word we are looking for is “subversive”.

  2. Nothing about Futurama and/or Rick and Morty ? Come on 🙂

    Nice video anyway.

  3. I want to point out influences of anime on western cartoons. Anime usually is this – weird weird thing with lots of depth. Not always, but it’s really common for japanese animation.

  4. Poor Doug sounds like he’s really pushing his vocal cords to do this. It’s good to have great work ethic, and as a fan I really do appreciate how hard he’s working to get back to a full schedule asap… but you only get one respiratory system. 🙁 Hopefully he gets a chance to heal up a bit more before doing more videos, you can do long term damage if you push yourself too hard!

  5. Some of this is purely subjective. Maybe I haven’t watched enough episodes but I wasn’t impressed by Stephen Universe. Didn’t hate it, just thought it was kind of dull and safe.

    Also, yeah Doug…you didn’t get Last Action Hero and you hate the Matrix, saying you couldn’t get invested in it’s world? Okay…agree to disagree.

    Also kind of shocked you didn’t like District 9, talk about a film that takes you out of your comfort zone. Sometimes a subtle allegory isn’t the thing you need to get your point across. Sometimes blatant and confrontational is the most effective.

  6. Reminds me exactly of Community. Probably is and will always be for quite some time the most weird yet brilliant live-action sitcom.

  7. I would put One Punch Man under this category. It starts out as just a bunch of variations of a super hero complaining about being too strong. From there though it becomes an examination of purpose and fulfillment in life

  8. I never watched Bojack Horseman. I watched the first 5 minutes of the first episode and thought “Why would I want to watch an animated version of Two and a half men?”

    • It’s one of those ‘You have to watch more episodes’ thing, because if there’s one thing it is NOT, it’s 2 and 1/2 Men. It’s actually a deconstruction of such a character, as the whole show is about Bojack’s search for happiness, without saying too much. I’d suggest watching season 1 in its entirety with some happy feelgood show queued for after you finish it.

  9. Regarding The Simpsons: no one’s saying it’s brilliant, not any more…

  10. I’m actually rather happy you addressed MLP, because I wouldn’t consider myself a fan, but I have brought myself to watching a few episodes and I was really pleasantly surprised at some of the episode’s themes.
    Sure, some are pretty cut and dry, but others address heavy things like guilt (there’s an episode where one of the princesses is haunted by the guilt of harming other people while she was evil, and the ‘main 6’ allow her to realise holding onto it is unhealthy and to forgive herself because everyone else has.)

  11. Spectacular Spider-man has the weirdest character designs as it is the most cartoony and resembles something out of a Disney show (ironically). But what makes the designs brilliant is not only to bring the kids’ attention, but also stand out amongst the many Spider-man cartoons. The designs gave low expectations for the phenomenal writing, well-written characters, and well animated action scenes that it gave us. If the show were to be running today, it would blend in with other great shows like Steven Universe, Adventure Time, Star Vs FOE, and so on.

    Fun fact: the show was done by the same people behind Gargoyles.

  12. One of my favorite cartoon episodes is The Amazing World of Gumball episode called Finale. It’s the season finale of season 2 where the main characters actions from just about all the previous episodes come back to haunt them. This episode does a really great job referencing all the damage they’ve caused in the first 2 seasons and how they believed that everything would just somehow go back to normal after a certain amount of time (in other words, after the end of an episode).

  13. … There is another great TV series that came out during the 2010’s. That series is “Transformers: Prime.” Holy mother of god, THOSE are what the movies should have been (and ironically, the original writers are the producers). Unlike the other series mentioned, they don’t waste time. A main character is killed in the first five minutes, and it really hurts you because that character was part of the opening, has some funny lines and a cool design.

    Sure it had its lighthearted moments, but with such solid writing with very likable, even at times relatable characters, it shows the effects of war, the consequences of violence even though it’s disguised as brilliant action. The characters are great, the designs are great, the animation is GORGEOUS and of course there is solid voice acting.

    Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime is pretty much law now but you can tell that THIS is the REAL Optimus Prime, the one who should be in the spotlight. This is the one that you feel for, the one who has been through the darkest pits of hell yet somehow remains a compassionate, wise leader. Frank Welker properly reprises his role as Megatron but using a take that he, apparently, originally wanted to use but the crew back in the 80’s deemed it too intense… and good God do I believe it. You want a comparison? He was the Ceaser Romero Joker, then became the Heath Ledger Joker. From a fun, silly villain to this terrifying MONSTER! Then you have great VA’s like Kevin Michael Richardson, Sumalee Montano, Josh Keaton, Tania Gunadi, Daran Noris and Steve Blum to name a few… But then they also get other brilliant actors. Ernie Hudson portrays, in my opinion, one of the funniest yet badass human characters in Sci Fi in this show. We also get Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres, Michael Ironside, Nolan North just to name a few… But one of the best by far is Tony Todd’s character. He plays a Decepticon more badass than The Fallen.

    This TV series is disgustingly underrated, I really don’t get why. Check it out, it belongs in the list that the NC just gave.

    Also, I loved the video, it really did make me think (if you couldn’t already tell XD)

  14. Well, I guess some of the weird things on TV, some of them I either don’t watch or not a fan of, can do some worthy things for our society.

  15. Is weird the new brilliant, or is Brilliant the new weird.

  16. so… nothing about rick and morty?

  17. Have you never seen over the garden wall?

  18. When people first saw the trailer for Sausage Party they thought it was going to be the next Food Fight?!? Really? When I first saw the trailer I thought to myself “That looks awesome, I can’t wait to see that”

  19. Okay, this might be my favorite editorial of yours you ever made. I was wondering what you thought of “Sausage Party”. You forgot to mention that it was an original idea. I knew this was going to be a good movie! Awesome, good things about “My Little Pony”! Well, it is technically the modern TV show you mention the most.
    Oh, and you forgot “Bridge To Terabithia” as a movie that had bad symbolism. Well, it got better. To be fair, “The Matrix” and “District 9” are still better movies, hee hee. How can I hate you? You said you wouldn’t review the third Titanic movie. I am looking to the eventual Rock Vegas review.
    I wish you knew about “The Amazing World Of Gumball”. That is one of the craziest cartoons ever made. I’m still amazed at how realistic it is. Really, they act so much like little kids. “Steven Universe” is still pretty mild compared to those other ones. Will “My Little Pony” EVER have a crossover with any other popular cartoon?

  20. ilovethings andstuff

    steven universe is a horrible show.. not sure why people like it.. it’s almost as bad as uncle grandpa and teen titans go

  21. And you didn’t even mention Futurama?!

  22. Great commentary Doug, as always.

  23. Not really a fan of the more recent crop of animated weirdness but was a fan of Duckman, The Powerpuff Girls and The Critic.(Though it did have a tendency to be hit and miss.) I was once told by a friend that the only people my age who watched The Powerpuff Girls were stoners. I’m sure that has come up in this case too. People who watch these shows being labeled as weird, stoners or the like. I was there at the beginning when the Simpsons was considered edgy and controversial. “I’m Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?” rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. I didn’t watch The Simpsons at all for the first couple of seasons just for that reason. I think it was one of the Treehouse Of Horror’s that got me. While I don’t watch it much any more, for a while it was the show to watch.

    I also keep thinking of the British TV show “The Prisoner”. Considered weird at the time but is now considered groundbreaking TV. Aeon Flux was another show that seemed weird but is now considered a masterpiece of animation.

    BTW does anyone remember seeing “The Maxx”, when I first saw it I thought it was pretentious BS. Haven’t seen it for a long time so I don’t know how well its aged.

    I think in the end it often comes down to shows not being appreciated in their time.

  24. Finally BoJack gettings its DUE!!!! Not enough people watch it, probably the most brilliant show Netflix ever produced.

  25. Where can I find the song playing in this video?

  26. After watching this, went and watched Sausage Party.It is not Food Fight bad, but it isn’t good or weird either. It is a very by the book movie with the depth of a Miss World contestant wishing for world peace during her interview.

  27. GOSH! I love when he analyzes this kind of topics!
    Those might be my favorite kind of editorials!
    BTW, Oh no! A THIRD MOVIE?!?!?!

  28. actually they have explained (if it wasnt clear) why animals were used in Bojack. its not “for no reason” as you say

  29. Tenticoolino, huh? Well, this should be good. Finally, people will experience the film where a Scottish man with a little girl’s head gets rewarded by Atlantis for murdering people with torpedoes…. But is SOMEHOW a good guy!

  30. Blaze The Movie Fan

    Nah, weird has always been cool, it’s nothing new.

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