Top 8 moments in ‘Too Many Cooks’ – and laughter, too!
It takes a lot to make a list – a pinch of clickbait, and laughter too!
Too Many Cooks – or is “Too Many Cooks”? – will be over five years old come this November. We know! It’s timeless! The subversive, absurdist deconstruction of sitcom tropes, televisual storytelling, and narrative coherence was an absolute left-field hit phenomenon. We can’t stop returning to it every few months just to partake in the total WTF-ness of it all.
Bringing an anti-comedy premise and going beyond its logical endpoint, to the extent that destroying the joke becomes the joke, before being destroyed again. Cooks is a post-postmodernist masterpiece of a sketch that aired at 4am on Adult Swim, seeming to latch right onto the part of your brain that tries to find order in the world. Because there isn’t – the world is “Too Many Cooks!”
So we thought we’d count down our top eight moments in Too Many Cooks as part of our long-running series in, uh, counting things down. Today, we look at one of the funniest twelve minutes you can ever experience!
8. TOO MANY C.O.O.K.S.
“CYBERNETIC OPERATIONAL OPTIMISED KNIGHTS Of SCIENCE . . . when it comes to the future, you can never have too many cooks.”
Okay so by the 7 minute mark of the sketch, you think you’ve seen everything it has to offer – to the point that you know it’s started to repeat things for effect (the serial killer popping his head up, etc.) Suddenly, you’re thrown into a Star Trek parody complete with nonsensical CGI, lasers coming out of giant mouths, and some obviously bad costume design. It’s the moment that makes you shrug, finally. This is “Too Many Cooks” (or is it Too Many Cooks?). You accept this reality. The beast will rise on the fourteenth day!
7. “Steve from corporate too!”
So while “Too Many Cooks” breaks apart all conventions of an eighties sitcom intro, only to destroy subsequently all narrative coherence itself, this moment manages to remind you of humanity. Looking like something out of the background of Twin Peaks, Charles Pittard, who is a real actual actor with the actual real name of Charles Pittard, looks at the screen. “Steve from corporate too!”
It’s a shame the story doesn’t start playing some Karl Marx audiobooks. It has everything to say on the construction of storytelling, but what about the structure of capitalism? HUH, STEVE? WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT?!*
Moving into total Dallas mockery, the hawk transition (or is it an eagle? Who cares.) manages to be the best display of “Too Many Cooks”. What starts off as a mock transition – a shot of a hawk turning to the camera before fading back to an overhead shot of a mansion – repeats itself. And repeats itself again. And then, no matter how many times you watch it and think it’s the moment to move on now, it repeats again.
It’s like you’re reading something and it just decides to repeat the same sentence for seemingly no effect. What a delight! It’s like you’re reading something and it just decides to repeat the same sentence for seemingly no effect. What a delight!
The beast shall rise on the twelfTH day!
FiVeEE. please help me! they’re coming for me!
“Too Many Cooks” is at its core an existential horror, if we’re speaking plainly about what occurs within what little story there is. Let’s try and make some sense of this. It’s a universe that repeats images, ideas, and stories and then populates them with characters who are trapped in their roles. No matter where it is – a sci-fi adventure or animated military-industrial complex propaganda – the people inside cannot escape their roles. Which is, usually, having their name displayed.
Katie Adkins manages to become self-aware and bursts out of the narrative while being pursued by the serial killer bloke. We reckon he’s the agent of comedy, the element of subversion who enters into a setup. He’s the punchline. Rampaging and disrupting “Too Many Cooks” keeps the piece a laugh riot, but at the cost of the characters’ lives. Shrug.
Only Katie becomes aware that the joke is on them and attempts to escPLEASEHELPTHELISTICLEBEASTISCOMINGFORUSPLEASEHELPSEND-
? Ha ha ha hah. It’s me! The film critic ghost!
Oh boy, oh boy! What an absolute delight, folks. He’s back from the dead!
? Please free me from this prison!
Ha haha! What a prankster!
4. “No… kill me. KILL ME.”
The horror show evolves further to infect what we think is the “real world”. Seeing that the disease has spread, “Introitus”, we see a hospital ward and a doctor trying to take care of one of the infected characters in the show. This might be a metaphor for being trapped viewing life through the lens of narrative and how that is ultimately damaging, or at least a disease. Or, it’s just a bit of spooky scary stuff! OooooOOooOOO
? I’m a real human being. My name was Jonathan Smith. I was killed on the eighth of December in eighteen-twenty-six. Please, free me from this vessel. End my tenure. Stop reading this listicle! It’s the only wa—
Ha ha ha! He’s such a jokester!
? AAAAAAAAAARRRR- ooOOOooOOOooOOOoOooo boop boop I’m the film critic ghost!
Hahahaha! Such fun!
Undoubtedly one of the funniest moments of our entire lives . . . watching a man dressed as coat be billed asCOAT was prETTY ffunny. But then to suddenly quickly zoom in on a pie and call it Lars Von Trier. WTF! So funny! Ha ha hah hah!
“Too Many Cooks” takes a LOT to make a stew an DPDFOi PICNH of salt and LAUGHterrrrrrrr too is genius how it manages to subvert even the subversions. You expect a face in the pie or some kind of visual gag. Nope, it’s just a yellow caption of a revered director. It cares not for your narrative cohesA PICNH OF SALT we hope you’re sitting comfortably? We could go on and on about moments like this – especially when the names turn into screaming bodies.
NUMBER ONE: THE COLLAPSE
And then there’s the end. When we see Smarf, our only “hero”, if we can call him that, push a red button and attempt to end the pain. End the joke, the constant destruction of structure. Find some order. But every joke requires a setup, and so “Too Many Cooks” simply resets.
We see it here, in every scene, Smarf is forever trapped in the sketch. It will repeat ad infinitum. Stories, jokes, and destruction. There is no escaping. On loop, forever and ever. Every single time you press play on this video, you are consigning to death so . . . many . . . characters.
It’s a hamster wheel. A treadmill.
Too Many Cooks is an incredible piece that deserves to be renowned throughout comedy history – something that deserves to be studied. There’s so much going on. Please, the beast comes. Stop reading. It’s such a wacky, hilarious sketch! Wow. Gee-wiz! We can’t watch to HIT PLAY AGA
A PINCH OF SALT
Number 8: sthe smarf”
Hello pain Rlolorer
Jhahjah what a sotry
A PimncNCh of saalT and alughter too!!111#ERROR
IT IS AWAKE
It takes a lot to make a list – a pinch of clickbait, and laughter too!
Too Many Cooks – or is “Too Many Cooks”? – will be over four years old come this November . . .
*Ed. note: FD is not responsible for fallacious socialist ramblings by its staff, who are employed and typing on powerful, inexpensive computers due to the very capitalism they mistakenly blame for the ills of the world.