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Web Video: Oddity Archive
"And welcome to the Oddity Archive, the show that reawakens nostalgia for things you didn't even know you had."
-Ben "That Shmuck With The Cardboard Box" Minnotte

In April 2012, Colorado resident and former indie folk musician Ben Minnotte suffered a car crash that left him without wheels, without a job and with a damaged ribcage. Trying to think less about his pain, he decided to look back on his childhood curiosity with technology and make an article about the Max Headroom incident in June 2012. However, he discovered that his humor barely made any sense written, so he decided to make a one-off podcast. But then that was scrapped as well since there's a whole video component to the whole thing. So what did he do? He decided to try his hands out at being an internet Caustic Critic towards this stuff. And, thus, the Oddity Archive was born.

Oddity Archive is basically what would happen if The Nostalgia Critic met Mystery Science Theater 3000. It discusses the odder, often scarier, parts of film, TV, music and technology, and makes riffs on certain things. Although the official Oddity Archive YouTube channel has currently over 1,000 subscribers, it is still relatively obscure and really Needs More Love.

"Aaaand welcome to the Tropes Related to the Series Archive."

  • Abusive Parents / Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Ben (as a character, at least) is implied to have these.
  • Adorkable: Ben, particularly when he's getting nostalgic.
  • Atomic Hate: Several episodes deal with this.
  • Brown Note: Janet Greene's "Fascist Threat" is used twice as a method of forcing young people to join the Republican Party, because it is just that bad. note 
    • This is also the case with the "Italian Dance Party" record's rendition of "Arrivederci Roma". It leads Ben to do some... unpleasant-sounding things before redacting his prior panning of the album.
  • Call Back: Max Headroom pops up in "Format Wars" when Ben describes a damaged, skipping CED like watching Max Headroom even when you didn't want to.
    Max Headroom: He's a FRICKIN' nerd!
    • When he sees that the Clue II: Murder in Disguise VCR game has no logos at the start...
    Ben: What, no scary logo?!?! Rip-off!
  • Caustic Critic/Deadpan Snarker: Ben.
  • Cold Open: Some episodes open with these.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Averted with Ben, who usually tries to find rational explanations for unexplained phenomena. However, conspiracy theorists (and their theories) are discussed (and mocked) in a few episodes.
  • Content Warnings: Ben notes in "American EXXXtacy (and Other C-Band Nastiness)" that guys with girlfriends shouldn't watch it.
    • He issues a more serious one at the beginning of "Protect and Survive" due to its discussion of nuclear war and its Gallows Humor.
    • Ben will also sometimes insert these into the middle of episodes before potentially offensive or upsetting segments, such as in "Prehistoric Television", where he advises people who are sensitive to Nazi imagery to skip the following part of the episode.
  • Couch Gag: The "production company" at the very end of the episode.
  • Credits Gag: Can be found in several episodes. Especially notable in "Teknikel Diffikultees", where a good chunk of the credits are misspelled.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Ben feels many PSAs do this unintentionally.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first two (regular) episodes don't feature Ben on camera, and Episode 2.5 features Ben hiding behind a mic instead of his now-signature cardboard box.
    • As well, the series' theme tune, "Pavanned", doesn't show up until the sixth (regular) episode. Until that point, the theme song was XTC's "Senses Working Overtime".
  • The Faceless: Ben is almost always shown with a cardboard box covering the lower half of his face.
    • The only times his full face can be glimpsed at are second-long clips in the Oddity Archive Promo (where he immediately covers the camera lens with his hand), the demonic video tape in Episode 9, and the first "Ask the Archive". note 
  • Foreshadowing: During the "Local Commerical Break" for "Scary Logos (and other Nostalgic Video Terrors)", an Amvest Video clip of Grampa is used, followed by Ed saying, "We might have to revisit that one. ;)" Sure enough, Amvest Video was profiled three episodes later.
  • Gallows Humor: Used often, especially in episodes pertaining to Atomic Hate in a significant way. Ben says in "Duck and Cover" that this kind of "comes with the territory". He'll usually issue some sort of warning prior to its use.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "Halloween Special 2013 (Part 1 - Italian Dance Party)", Ben condemns the "Italian Dance Party" for being disrespectful toward Italian music. Deciding he needed to bring "ethnic authenticity" note  to the show, he then begins a rendition of "Arrivederci Roma"... before fumbling on the words and crapping out.
    Ben: I could never remember the words to that damn song, anyway.
  • In Memoriam: Parodied in "Duck and Cover" for (the fictional) Bert the Turtle.
    • Played straight in "Local TV Special" for Russell "Blinky" Scott, a TV clown from Ben's childhood, who passed away in 2012.
  • Misplaced-Names Poster: An accidental one occurs in "VHS Vault Vol. 4 (VCR Games)", when a caption reading "billiard room" appears in front of a character.
    Inspector Pride: My name is Inspector Pride.
    Ben: No, it's not, i-it's "Billiard Room", I could see it there right on the screen!
  • MST: Very much so.
  • Noodle Incident: In "Number Stations (And Other Radio Oddities)", we're not told exactly what Ben did at the previous year's Oktoberfest, other than that it involved wooden clogs.
    • The audience is also never shown what Ben does after going to bed with "Arrivederci Roma" stuck in his head during the 2013 Halloween special. All the viewers are given is the sound of some kind of metallic weapon, the sound of footsteps on grass, and what sounds like the dumping of a dead body.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Sometimes used with the more absurd oddities.
  • Punny Name: "Interstitials" features the (fake) book "Don't Mime If I Do", written by "R. Wirst Nitemayer"note , and published by "Munnee, Hungree & Bastards Inc." note .
  • Running Gag: The picture on the cardboard box varies between episode.
    • "Aaaand welcome to the Oddity Archive, the show that [does a verb]."
    • "Join us next time when we [do something interesting]."
    • The Max Headroom hijacker has become a running gag throughout the series.
    • Connie Francis is also used as a semi-reccurent gag, starting with "Emergency Broadcast Salute".
    • "Beautiful Downtown Aurora".
    • A semi-recurrent gag is Ed the Editor reacting negatively to one of Ben's "history lessons."
    Ben: That means...
    Ed: NO!
    Ben:'s time for another one of my history lessons.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: Ben discusses this tactic in "PSA's (or, The More You Know, The Less You Understand)".
  • Screamer Prank: Used in "Protect and Survive" as The Stinger.
  • Silent Credits: Used in "Protect and Survive" and "Prehistoric Television", in both cases to amp up some Nightmare Fuel.
  • Spoof Aesop: "TV Sign-Offs" features a mock PSA that shows Ben shedding a single tear before dumping trash on a clean floor. The message? "If it feels good... why not?"
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In the 'Scary Logos' video, Ben refers to this as "Protect and Survive Syndrome."
  • The Stinger
  • Surreal Humor: Full of this, especially during the episode about the Max Headroom incident.
  • Take That: In "Valentine's Day Special (Dating Services)", Ben taped a paper reading "HAPPY NOW, BLIP???" onto the cardboard box. This led to the series' suspension from Blip.
  • Take That, Audience!: After issuing the aforementioned Content Warning in "American EXXXtacy", Ben says that people watching Oddity Archive probably don't have girlfriends.
    • In "Local TV Vol. 2 (Kiddie Show Hosts)", Ben spends a good while at the beginning cursing the viewer(s) who requested the episode's topic.
  • Take That, Us: Some of the opening "show that [x]" lines are this.
    Ben: Welcome to the Oddity Archive, the show that metaphorically embodies circling the drain.
    • The official website credits Ben as "Ben (That Shmuck With The Cardboard Box) Minnotte".
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Used in "PSA's (or, The More You Know, The Less You Understand)" during Ben's rant at a child abuse PSA.
    Woman in ad: You can't be my kid!
    Ben: You're right... I'm your worst nightmare. ...Bitch!
  • Visual Pun: Ben makes one at the end of "Captain Midnight/Vrillon" about signal jamming.
  • Waxing Lyrical: From "Archive Riffs: Cigarette Commercials", Ben does this when riffing an Oasis Cigarette ad.
    Commercial Narrator: Oasis.
    Ben: 'cause today's gonna be the day that they throw it all back to you.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: "Teknikel Diffikultees" revolved around this.
    • Also used in "PSA's (or, The More You Know, The Less You Understand)" to interrupt Ben's rant at a PSA about child abuse.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: In "Number Stations (And Other Radio Oddities)", Ben wins the lottery, and declares that this episode of the Archive will be the last. Of course, he says this with a good eight minutes left in the episode, so it's no surprise when it turns out he's blown it all and must continue making the Archive.
  • You Wanna Get Sued?: When The Walt Disney Corporation or Chicago's WGN channel are mentioned, Ben often bleeps them out to avoid invoking them directly, and their names are usually blanked out when they appear on screen. Justified in that, as Ben notes in an episode of "Ask the Archive", Disney and WGN can be a bit litigious when it comes to copyright, and referencing either entity directly could result in the offending episode being pulled from YouTube.

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