Shelf Life

I’ve been hearing about the web series Shelf Life* for a while now at cons and such and keep meaning to check it out — already, it’s in its third season. Thank you to AProblemShared for blogging about the show and thus reminding me!

Shelf Life opens with a catchy speed metal theme song as we fly in through a window to a child’s bedroom and four superhero figures standing on a shelf. For a split second you could almost mistake this for animation, and when the characters first start to speak you hardly see the mouths move. But when their owner leaves the room, the action starts.

The whole thing is one shot; the camera never moves and we never get a close-up. It’s almost like watching a play. We lose a little something, maybe, by not seeing detailed facial expressions and small gestures. But that may be part of the gag.

The “pilot” episode, at just over two minutes, serves only to introduce the four characters: the generically titled and attired Hero Man, Hero Lass, Bug Boy, and slightly more bizarre Samurai Snake. They’re not exactly rolling in job satisfaction. But you have to wait until episode 2 before anything laugh-out-loud funny happens.

You might be thinking, “This has been done before. There were three Toy Story movies.” Yeah, but did you ever hear Woody use the word “fucktard”?

Really, you could have watched the episode twice in the time it took to read this, so just watch it.

*Not to be confused with the episode of Simon’s Cat titled Shelf Life, also well worth viewing.

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