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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

A Messy Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen

Emily Danaher
Emily Danaher
Entropy is commonly known — and often mistakenly simplified — as a measure of disorder in a system, a lack of order and predictability. What you learn as you begin to study thermodynamics (nerd alert) is that there is value in that disorder, that when there is a lack of structure and confinement, the resulting freedom is oftentimes preferred, favorable and suggests something about the accompanied “free” energy of that something.

Friday at 4 a.m., while the rest of the normal, routine world was sleeping, Adult Swim aired an 11-minute short that — even in your wildest dreams — you could never even dream about. The short, titled “Too Many Cooks,” is a spoof/parody of the ‘80s-era sitcoms, where every archetype of sitcom characters is introduced during a makeshift-opening credits — from the proud father, to the homely mother, to the head-strong little boy, to the uber-sociable teenage girl, to the “G.I. Joe” spin-off, to the detectives and police officers to the … well, you get the point. There are easily dozens of characters introduced, while the deliciously-addictive theme song “Too Many Cooks” keeps going. And going. And going. The introduction of characters is similarly endless. This routine seems to perpetuate until eventually a man who looks like a criminal directly out of “True Detective” comes in, breaks all the monotony and — wielding a machete — really begins to make things edgy.

As the man comes in and begins to take out the aforementioned stereotypical sitcom characters one by one, the looping theme song begins to become distorted, warped and then surely enough the film transitions into undoubtedly pure disorder and randomness. And, just like any thermodynamic system, there is a lot of value in the disorder and lack of structure of the film.

“I was working intuitively, and there’s a quote Elvis Costello has that I really like,” film creator, Chris “Casper” Kelly, said. “He said, ‘You start out imitating your heroes, and the way you [expletive] up becomes your style.’ I was just working on a feeling, working intuitively.”

There is a beauty in the complete randomness and almost unstructured nature of the film. As the film proceeds, only once the machete-wielding man — who really embodies the concept of entropy — “finishes” his business does the film seem to finally escape the perpetuating introduction scenes. It is only after he disrupts the structure of the film can the story of the film proceed (though there really is no story to the film — it concludes shortly after the opening credits finally end).

The film is humorously dark and must be taken with large doses of salt — after all, the film is almost glorifying a murderous “anti-hero,” if he can even be considered that — and it is very weird, quite disgusting and at the very least horribly graphic. However just like the concept of entropy, it is valuable in its disorder and randomness. It is beautifully misunderstood and wonderful, even if a bit nauseating.