The Oral History of ‘Too Many Cooks’, Adult Swim’s Weirdest Experiment Ever | Inverse

“When Adult Swim debuted Too Many Cooks in that early morning time slot, almost no one thought it would find an audience. Within a week, the surreal 11-minute parody of a ‘90s sitcom theme song had racked up over 5 million views on YouTube… It took a full year, a skeleton crew, and dozens of extras to bring this half-baked concept to life. To mark its four-year anniversary, and shed a little light on how a bit of late-night stoner comedy won over the internet with surrealist humor and a catchy tune, Inverse spoke to 10 people behind Too Many Cooks, from creator Casper Kelly to the musicians who wrote the song, to the villain.

Here’s the story of Too Many Cooks, in the words of its unlikely creators…”

—Jake Kleinman, “An Oral History of ‘Too Many Cooks’.” Inverse. October 28, 2018.

More than you wanted to know about the making of Too Many Cooks.

Noncompete Clauses are Evil

“Traditionally, noncompete clauses like the one Kenny signed were found in contracts for white-collar executives or other high-profile employees who might have access to company trade secrets or develop personal relationships to clients. Businesses fear employees will leave and take those valuable assets with them to a competitor, so noncompete clauses help protect those companies.

But after the recession, when jobs were hard to come by and workers had less leverage to negotiate the terms of their employment, noncompete clauses started appearing in contracts for workers in low-wage or middle-income jobs like sandwich makers, and they remain a road block for everyone from hair stylists to security guards and house cleaners. The scope of their reach is difficult to determine because many workers don’t realize they’ve signed a noncompete clause until leaving a job. And though many courts are reluctant to enforce overly broad agreements, few low-income workers have the resources to legally challenge them.”

—Jared Bennett, “Noncompete clauses: They’re not just for executives anymore.” Center for Public Integrity. October 24, 2018.

Thinking Itself Is Dangerous – Los Angeles Review of Books

“Just as terror, even in its pre-total, merely tyrannical form ruins all relationships between men, so the self-compulsion of ideological thinking ruins all relationships with reality. The preparation has succeeded when people have lost contact with their fellow men as well as the reality around them, for together with these contacts, men lose the capacity of both experience and thought. The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.”

Ideological thinking forecloses our ability to discern by flattening the plurality of the human condition, destroying our ability to distinguish between fact and fiction, right and wrong.”

—Samantha Hill, “Thinking Itself is Dangerous.” Los Angeles Review of Books. October 22, 2018.

Review of Hannah Arendt’s Thinking Without a Bannister. The idea for the title is quoted within the article:

“I have a metaphor which is not quite that cruel, and which I never published but kept for myself. I call it thinking without a banister. In German, “Denken ohne Geländer.” That is, as you go up and down the stairs you can always hold on to the banister so that you don’t fall down. But we have lost this banister. That is the way I tell it to myself. And this is indeed what I try to do.”

—Hannah Arendt, quoted in ibid.

Kinky Labor Supply and the Attention Tax — Kortina

“As an example, consider how this increased competition plays out in online dating platforms. On Tinder, the top 20% of men are competing for the top 78% of women. Why? It’s a matter of the breadth of selection. Offline, due to the constraints of physical space and time, any given woman would have a finite set of potential partners to choose from. Online, the selection is much more vast and most women only “like” the most attractive men. The Gini coefficient for the “Tinder economy” is 0.58, which means that it has higher inequality than 95% the world’s national economies – in other words, it’s pretty grim if you’re a man in the bottom 80%.”

—Andrew Kortina and Namrata Patel. “Labor Supply and the Attention Tax.” kortina.nyc. October 13, 2018.

Strikes me as pretty grim for the bottom 80% of women too. Dissatisfied because of “settling” for a man of equal attractiveness, competing on qualities such as sexual availability or submissiveness, and other generally undesirable outcomes.

The Danger of Small Talk

“The Finnish don’t believe in talking bullshit.”

—Laura Studarus. “How the Finnish Survive Without Small Talk.” BBC.com. October 17, 2018.

Small talk is a social lubricant. It creates openings, fills in gaps in conversation, and eases partings. In environments with complex social networks that extend past our Dunbar numbers, social anxiety is a natural byproduct of the environment. Small talk eases this anxiety.

Gossip also has these features. It can be useful in communicating social standing in a group. It’s how reputations are made. But, it is can also be damaging if it becomes the focus of interaction, where what others think and will say about us within a group polices group behavior, leading to inauthentic lives.

Small talk has a similar problem. Sure, it can signal social connection and paper over awkward moments. But, it can also become a crutch that we rely on so much that we do it instead of making any kind of meaningful connection with others, which can easily heighten our feelings of social anxiety and disconnection.

Law 10: Infection: Avoid The Unhappy & Unlucky

“The infecting character type…stems from an inward instability that radiates outward, drawing disaster upon itself. You could spend a lifetime studying the pathology of infecting characters, but don’t waste your time — just learn the lesson. When you suspect you are in the presence of an infecter, don’t argue, don’t try and help, don’t pass the person on to your friends, or you will become enmeshed. Flee the infecters presence or suffer the consequences.”

—Alex Sandalis, “Law 10: Avoid the Unhappy & Unlucky.” Medium. September 18, 2016.

Related: How to Deal With Psychic Vampires.