Reply All: #56 Zardulu
February 25, 2016 7:45 AM - Subscribe

This was a great episode, but I thought some of the building up of Zardulu was laying it on a little thick. She seems like a rat trainer who's also an excellent performance artist and has built up a personality for that art, and so the grandiose claims became a bit tired after a while because I didn't get the sense that she was necessarily more than that.

Also, none of them have read Harry Potter?
posted by lunch at 7:47 AM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Two things

1. Eric Yearwood is Zardulu. Come on, people.

2. The origin of the Bernie or Hillary meme is Obvious Plant, which made the Blue before.
posted by SansPoint at 8:28 AM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

This episode was great from start to finish. I don't know how they do it, but this podcast has become my favorite.
posted by palegirl at 10:54 AM on February 25, 2016

Enjoyed this one. For whatever reason I felt very suspicious of the guy who Zardulu hired: he just feels like someone who is maybe in on multiple levels of the con.

I was very disappointed that I knew exactly what the YYN was about, so I turned it off, but it's not their fault.
posted by selfnoise at 11:26 AM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Funny, I did not enjoy the Zardulu part of the episode at all. It just felt...incomplete?
posted by radioamy at 2:23 PM on February 25, 2016

YYN is one of my favorite podcast segments of all time, it's always best when you yourself are a N so you get to go from "wtf" to "oh okay" (usually followed by a "that's dumb").

Anybody know what the "First off, I need to talk about parallel universes" is about?
posted by moons in june at 2:26 PM on February 25, 2016

Anybody know what the "First off, I need to talk about parallel universes" is about?

It's a reference to this video. In it, the narrator purports to complete a level of Mario 64 by pressing the A button only ½ time (completing games/levels with minimum button presses is related to speedrunning). This is possible through what he calls "parallel universes" and it's a very complicated thing that takes 20 minutes to explain.

The meme casts Bernie as the brilliant/chaotic narrator and HRC as a person who is stuck in conventional thinking and can't even grasp the concept of half of a press of a button, which the narrator also addresses in the video.
posted by Maecenas at 3:49 PM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Tangent: the Reply All Newsletter gives a shout-out to Greg Nog's "Lil Friendys" 2016 ALL CANDIDATES DEBATE.
posted by jazon at 3:56 PM on February 25, 2016

Ok sorry I just finished the podcast and that was a terrible explanation of what you were asking about :<

To summarize the very long video, basically Mario 64 has a map that you walk around in, but if you run far enough (like, game-breakingly far and fast), you can wrap around and end up in the same place again in terms of spatial coordinates. He calls this a parallel universe, since you actually have to get back to the starting version of the map to finish the level.
posted by Maecenas at 4:31 PM on February 25, 2016

This YYN was so convoluted and meta and fucking great. I was somehow unaware of pretty much all memes mentioned so I feel entertained as well as educated.
posted by radioamy at 7:18 PM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pj has the best laugh in ALL of media. Just wonderful.
posted by pearlybob at 11:00 PM on February 25, 2016

That yes yes no went totally over my head at first, till they got to the a presses as part of their explanation and it clicked.

I watched like, 15 mins of that video and I'm pretty sure I blocked most of it out.
posted by KernalM at 3:04 AM on February 26, 2016

I hadn't heard of Damn Daniel until yesterday, but now it's HAUNTING ME. First Reply All, then Buzzfeed's Internet Explorer, now it's a Bitmoji!

I, for one, do not think it's funny at all. I'm convinced that teens are trolling us olds.
posted by radioamy at 12:57 PM on February 26, 2016

Pj has the best laugh in ALL of media. Just wonderful.

Good nomination, but it must do battle against the laughs of:

Starlee Kine
Robert Krulwich
Juliet Litman
Jonathan Larroquette
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:06 AM on February 28, 2016

I dunno I still vote for PJ's laugh. It's just the right amount of maniacal.
posted by radioamy at 9:58 AM on February 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

This was a great episode, but I thought some of the building up of Zardulu was laying it on a little thick.
I've been assuming the radio hosts are jumping into the narrative and choosing to play along. It's certainly more fun to take the story seriously than to do otherwise. If I had a radio show I'd probably make the same choice. (Even if it made me sound a bit naive.) It's more fun to pretend you believe the actor was hired by a mysterious mastermind rather than collaborating with a member of his improv troupe.
posted by eotvos at 4:23 PM on February 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

I knew exactly what the 0.5 A presses/parallel universes thing was about because it was covered on the blue .

PJ and the Alexes (Alexii?) did themselves a disservice by not watching the whole video. It's amazing, and I feel like the whole classic game speedrun/challenge run world would make for a great episode.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:02 AM on March 1, 2016

I loved this episode, partly because I'm really drawn to seeming appearances of magic and also the secret machinations of arts collectives, which Zardulu most certainly is. I love that it could be just as great a con to claim responsibility for all NYC-based rat-related viral videos - which are going to come in at an inevitably non-zero number - as to actually do the training and staging yourself.

It reminded me somewhat of the "vampire game" or IRL vampire role-playing that was going on in NYC by the late 1980s. I'm not sure anyone will remember this but late 80s/early 90s there was a lot of cultural fascination with vampires (kind of like recently with zombies), partly due to Anne Rice books and partly due to general Goth culture, there was supposedly a secret pervasive game going on in NYC where people had vampire identities and interacted with them in the real world. It was covered in the Times, though I can't find it now, and at this point it's hard to differentiate that from either the "I am a real vampire, I drink blood" movement that exists as a sort of fetish and also current Goth-descendant subcultures. Anyway, I remember feeling enchanted with the idea that people around us, at work or wherever, were participating in an ARG in a way parallel with regular life.
posted by Miko at 8:39 AM on March 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just saw this headline today and immediately thought of this episode.

Huge rat climbs on sleeping man in MTA train station.
posted by dnash at 8:40 AM on March 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

The whole "this might go really deep, man" Zardulu thing felt like an extended stoner riff to me; I usually like that PJ and Alex are prone to flights of fancy, but this one just felt a bit too self-indulgent.

I'm skeptical of the whole "maybe the videographer was an unwitting passer-by" theory. Releasing your stunt rat on the off-chance that a passer-by both notices it and films it? That seems like a long-shot over simply having a stooge film it for you.

And yes, I was frustrated that the "parallel universes" bit was left unexplained. More of a Maybe/Maybe/Maybe than a Yes/Yes/Yes, this one.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:54 PM on May 2, 2016

She staged a viral story. You fell for her hoax. She thinks that’s beautiful. A new interview in the Washington Post.
posted by Nelson at 9:28 AM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Great stuff. So glad you posted that story, Nelson. I love this!
posted by Miko at 9:44 AM on December 16, 2016

I just recalled the late 80s/early 90s term for what this is: "mindfucks."
posted by Miko at 9:45 AM on December 16, 2016

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