6/21/10

RVOD118 Are People All the Same?

(1970s-ish, Educational-Short, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

Except Wayans Brothers; they’re interchangeable.

Rating: ***1/2

In a Nutshell:


No they’re not, and that’s okay.

Summary:

One of those little girls is named 'Jason.'Are All People the Same starts off by asking what “race” means. After numerous erroneous guesses, mostly relating to contests of speed, the narrator sets us straight with an odd stop motion paper doll that periodically sprouts horns, wings and eventually legs. Somehow this leads to a lot of multicolored doll heads on toilet paper tubes.

Now the short challenges the old racist saying, “all Asians look alike.” It does this by quick cutting between pairs of Asians, challenging us to tell the difference. What remains is some overheard domestic abuse, a lot of graffiti, a few afros and a mystifying multicultural birthday party.

Thoughts:

Lots of things about this short are odd and off-putting, but the Asian face montage baffles me in particular. No, I can’t tell which ones are Japanese and which ones are from China from a series of three-second glimpses. Does this make me racist? Show me a similar line-up of Caucasians and I won’t be able to tell you which ones are from Dubuque and which ones from Pasadena.

Favorite comments: When the narrator asks what “race” is, Mike guesses, “Johnny Quest’s adult male pal?” When the narrator explains that race is one of the ways we group people together, Kevin adds, “We call this ‘profiling.’” When the short pauses for a long-ish time near the middle, Bill cries, “Some sneaky ethnic person cut our power!” The short’s noble goals might be undermined by incoherent execution, but the riffers insert themselves into the jarring oddness well enough shake a fair amount humor out of it.