People Watching is a new show that launched Wednesday and will enjoy a 10-episode run, appearing on Cracked.com via YouTube.
People Watching is the brainchild of Winston Rowntree, the creator behind Subnormality, a Web comic that launched in 2007 and still enjoys sporadic updates. Fans of Subnormality should find the new animated series right up their alley: beautifully rendered, quirky characters, lots of dialogue — thoughtful and thought-provoking dialogue, and a few cool Easter Eggs from the comic. In addition, the voice acting is surprisingly high quality, and the animated medium allows for some fun visual effects. Plus, you know what’s great about animation? You don’t have to do all that hard work of reading words yourself. You can just listen.
(And if you aren’t yet a fan of the comic, get to it, man — there’s a decade of emotionally resonant, thinky, sprawling comics to get to.)
Perhaps the day after Valentine’s Day was the perfect time for the first episode of People Watching to appear. The pilot, entitled “Speed Dating Is Terrible,” deflates much of the starry-eyed idealism associated with romantic love and debates the ins and outs of dating from the points of view of people engaged in what is surely the 12th Circle of Hell, a speed-dating event at a restaurant. These are less conversations and more several monologues from participants — two in particular. Yet, in the end, you come to see it’s been something of a narrative story on the nature of missed connections, not just platform for speechifying on the world of dating. Just ten minutes.
Fans of Rowntree’s comic will surely find several Easter Eggs in his new animated series — we appreciated that “Jeremy” — the character who does the second-most yammering — has a tattoo of Subnormality fave Sphinx on one arm. We were also tickled when one of the dating connections becomes a bust because someone likes the wrong version of Star Trek.
For the full first episode of the show, see below: