The Best of Adult Swim’s “Infomercials”!

Adult Swim has always been known for pushing the boundaries of television, but also sometimes causing nightmares and confusion.

I have a confession to make. Since I was a child, I’ve had absolutely horrendous insomnia. Truly, downright abysmal. For years, I was convinced it was because I had stayed up too late playing Mario Kart one time, but no; sometimes our brains are wired differently and mine just happens to demand 24-hour service. However, during the especially bad nights—when I’d wake up and have no idea what time it was—I’d turn on the TV and watch the most forbidden channel: Adult Swim.

A (Sort-Of) Brief History

Adult Swim, founded in 2001 by Mike Lazzo, was a channel that was exactly as advertised: a channel only for adults. Now airing between the hours of 10:30 – 6:00 AM after Cartoon Network’s usual block, Adult Swim became known for its low-budget crudeness and absurdity, putting out shows such as Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Tim & Eric, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, The Eric Andre Show, and many, many more. However, the impact of these shows was nil on my 12-year-old brain compared to their late-night “infomercials”.

You’ll notice the quotes and for good reason: these infomercials were not real. Though who exactly came up with the idea is heavily debated (and will not be litigated here for legal reasons), the origin remains the same. In 2012, the first fifteen-minute short film named “Infomercial” appeared in the block. Made to fool viewers into thinking it was standard late-night paid programming, when in reality, they would receive a bizarro existential spiral, and the rest are nightmares in my little child brain.

Though they do not appear with near the frequency they once did on the network, I still partially credit the work of these filmmakers for my eventual surrealist appetite. Beyond being a source of shock and discomfort to those who stumbled upon it, the program served another purpose: as an incredible launching point for burgeoning, experimental artists. The following are only a few of the best the network has to offer.

Live Forever As You Are Now with Alan Resnick (2013)

Get ready to see the name Alan Resnick at least 2 more times. Resnick, originally gaining fame on YouTube as the creator of the channel “alantutorial”, has taken part in several projects alongside Adult Swim, but “Live Forever As You Are Now” was his first. Staged as a paid adblock from a self-help guru—also named Alan Resnick—trying to sell you immortality, “Live Forever As You Are Now” is an Infomercial at its finest: confusing the hell out of people.

Broomshakalaka (2013)

Remember Everything Everywhere All At Once? The multi-Oscar winning film directed by The Daniels? Well, they directed this too. “Broomshakalaka” takes you on a journey with Denny Boffa, a man desperately trying to sell you a broom that will “save you up to 9 hours per year” as misfortune careens in his path.

Unedited Footage of a Bear (2014)

When I say “things I saw late on television that gave me weird nightmares and imprinted on my psyche”, this is what I mean. “Unedited Footage of a Bear” is an unhinged romp; it is best described as a complete mental spiral, meant to destroy the barriers of what is real and what is not. There is not a single moment when “Unedited Footage of a Bear” isn’t trying to get into your head and nevertheless, you let it. It’s that good.

Too Many Cooks (2014)

A 90s sitcom intro gone wrong, “Too Many Cooks” has all but become the face of the Infomercial series following its viral success. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to watch it yet (or just haven’t watched it in nearly a decade), I highly encourage you to do so.

This House Has People In It (2016)

Captured through security cameras throughout the home, “This House Has People In It” follows a family’s afternoon gone wrong, as their daughter becomes stuck to the floor. Resnick’s knack for the uncomfortable yet engrossing once again shines and continues to prove his aptitude for unreality.

Final Deployment 4: Queen Battle Walkthrough (2018)

A YouTuber’s walkthrough of the fictional game, “Final Deployment 4”, becomes increasingly complicated as he plays through the main character’s return home and experience with PTSD. From the creative team that brought you “Too Many Cooks”, comes another mind-bending experience you don’t want spoiled.

About the Author

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Ford Blue

Ford Blue is a senior Video Media Arts student at Emerson College. He has self-produced multiple projects, played multiple roles in Emerson-based productions, and now currently interns with AfterBuzz TV/Heal Squad. He is passionate about stories that are willing to try something new (and may be a bit strange).