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Look Around You: Season 1
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Look Around You is the BAFTA-nominated comedy series based on the unforgettable Open University and Television for Schools programs of the1970s. Through a series of gloriously deadpan experiments, we observe a colony of ants build an igloo, receive a telephone call from abrain, discover why ghosts can't whistle, and reveal the largest number in the world. Science has never been so silly.
Look Around You is a spoof science program that hilariously re-creates both the drab, depressing air of 1970s educational television and a bygone world of tedious school science lessons. Each of the 10-minute episodes--or "Modules"--takes the form of a number of surreal and pointless experiments based on a chosen theme ranging from "Water" and "Sulphur" to "Ghosts" and "Brains."
Look Around You's humor lies not only in an absurd take on education and the impenetrable jargon of science, but also in evoking a sense of nostalgia in the viewer. In this respect the series is helped immeasurably by faultless production and attention to detail. Narrated in austere English, using precise scientific terminology, this is a world of scratched film inserts, dubious periodic tables, cheap, synthesized music, giant hairstyles, bulky, teak-finished technology, and a proliferation of DYMO labels. Each show is even prefaced by a few seconds of the "Television for Schools & Colleges" countdown clock. The tutorial format of the series is not without its problems though--it is essentially a single, plotless joke stretched to eight episodes, and there are no characters to speak of, save glimpses of the deadpan and much-maligned lab-technician (cowriter Peter Serafanowicz). Despite these shortcomings, Look Around You is still a refreshingly different comedy, which is so well put together that you can almost smell the Bunsen burners while you watch. --Paul Philpott
Little Mouse: full-length pop video
New exclusive commentaries featuring Robert Popper, Peter Serafinowicz, Tim Kirkby, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Edgar Wright, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, and Tim & Eric
Little Mouse commentary by Jack Morgan (BSc)
Pages from Ceefax
Play-at-home quiz pages
Additional music by Gelg
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Top customer reviews
So I can attest that a significant part of the joy of watching this show consists in noticing the (almost) completely deadpan way it reproduces those old programs--the dry voiceovers, the cheesy cutout "animations", the "futuristic" sets. I would note here that I showed a former classmate one of these episodes ("Maths") and it took him a good six minutes to realize it was a joke and not something he had seen as a child. That's how perfect these are.
The historical reconstruction augments the sharp humor that suffuses every episode. I would say, actually, that the reconstruction tranforms what would otherwise be absurd and implausible comic premises into outright, straight-faced lies. See, if I were to tell you, for example, that if you treat iron with sulfuric acid it produces a sound-absorbing powder called "bumcivilian," you might laugh at the funny word and sort of dismiss it. However, when Look Around You presents it almost as a matter of course, with demonstrations, during an episode, it takes on an aura of dull plausibility that is in total absolutely hilarious.
I was really sad when this series got removed from Youtube, but was extatic when I found it here. I bought one for me and one for a friend and I do not regret it! Buy it now while it's cheap!