After reading the conversations surrounding cmccrzy’s post “Abridged Series” I also began to question whether or not parodied animated web series could be classified as a part of the Electronic Literature canon. The post referenced “abridged” webseries and “How It Should Have Ended” and these references reminded me of another online series, “The 30-Second Bunny Theatre” by Angry Alien Productions. This series also takes popular movies, condenses them into a shorter period of time and presents them in a satirical way. “The 30-Second Bunny Theatre” is very similar to the other two series however unlike the “How It Should Have Ended” the ending or plot from the original are not significantly altered in any way apart from the fact all the characters are played by bunnies.
I can see value in both sides of the argument for the classification of these videos. “The 30-Second Bunny Theatre” videos were electronically born, therefore meeting the “born digital” criteria, and possess narrative qualities. In addition, these types of videos hold expectations for those who are viewing them and therefore require something out of the viewers. As cmccrzy stated “They make you really think about what goes on in the show/movie/what-have-you.” These videos are created with expectation that the viewers have already sent the original. For example, if you watch one of these videos and had never seen Inception, the film on which the video is based, you probably wouldn’t enjoy your viewing experience as much.
On the other hand I don’t know if these qualities justify the videos being classified as Electronic Literature. Although the videos were undeniably born digitally it is important to remember the basis of the videos was taken from an outside source. As viewers we cannot say whether or not the original films had a digital origin. One cannot argue that they were solely responsible for the birth of a parody piece because their piece would not exist had the idea being parodied not already existed. In addition I don’t think watching a video and having some background knowledge of the plot is enough interaction. If watching a video were enough than every video would fall into the canon and I don’t believe that is so.
Something else to think about is what happens to the classification once the projects medium or purpose changes. When Angry Alien Productions first starting making their thirty-second parody videos I’m sure they were unaware of the popularity they would receive. Now instead of creating the videos simply for the entertainment of their viewers or themselves the production team intend to make a profit out of their videos. If you visit the Angry Alien Production website you can purchase a DVD containing a compilation of the “The 30-Second Bunny Theatre” videos. After seeing this I’m not sure where I stand on the Electronic Literature classification argument. Can the videos online be classified as Electronic Literature but the videos on the DVD not be classified as such? Can a piece fall into more than one category based on the way in which it is viewed? I’m not sure where to draw the line.