Complex TV


However, even a complex serial in which every aspect of the narrative is potentially interconnected can inspire spreadable offshoots more akin to the bulk of shared video on YouTube. One such example comes from season 4 of Battlestar, in which a character unexpectedly and brutally kills herself. Forensic-minded drilling fans took this moment as an opportunity to explore motivations, rationale, and repercussions, but one fan saw a spreadable opportunity. Posting a video on YouTube called “Worst Commercial Placement Ever,” the clip shows the moment of the suicide, ending with the body lying in a pool of blood, and then continues into the advertisement that followed the scene on Canadian television: a cracker commercial with slow-motion shots of splashing tomato soup (resembling blood via this juxtaposition) and set to an upbeat song with the lyric, “I just want to celebrate another day of living!” This clip fits YouTube’s attraction model, with a clear moment of spectacular humor requiring no depth of storyworld knowledge—it is not surprising that the clip has been seen more than 250,000 times and linked to on numerous blogs and social networks. Even after the clip was blocked for copyright infringement, fans posted numerous copies to continue the spreadable moment. (Alas, I have no information as to how successful this ad was in promoting the cracker brand, but clearly many more people have seen the commercial via this spread.)

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