A website created in 1999 featuring satirical music videos animated using cut-outs of photographs. The site attained fame in 2004 when its video "This Land", which featured then-president George W. Bush and John Kerry, became a huge viral hit. Since then, they have released at least one current-events parody a year in the same style. From 2005 to 2014 they released "Year in Review" videos, lampooning major (and not-so-major) events of that year, starting with "2-0-5" and ending with "2014, You Are History". They announced in 2015 that they wouldn't do any more Year in Reviews. Until they returned in 2020!
In 2012, the creators of the website introduced StoryBots, an educational collection of songs for young children, which has since spun off into two Netflix shows, StoryBots Super Songs and Ask the StoryBots.
Their cartoons can be viewed here.
This site contains examples of:
- 555: In "2011, Buh-Bye", one classified ad says, "Full-Time Unemployment. Must Have 10-30 Years' Experience. Call 555-DAMN."
- An Aesop: Most of their videos are simple satire, but "What We Call the News" and "Big Box Mart" have very explicit Aesops about the impact of yellow journalism and volume retail stores, respectively. They even address the news networks and stores in the second person.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: There are quite a few of these examples in the year-in-review episodes. "2011, Buh-Bye!" probably has the most.Quakes! Crimes! New signs!
- Art Shift: In "What We Call the News", characters (except the old-timey anchors) talk by having their heads pop apart at the jawline (similar to babies and Canadians on South Park) instead of just having movable jaws. This was done to emphasize their "talking head" status.
- The 2010 year-in-review uses puppets.
- 2011 used stick puppetry.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The newspaper headlines in "Time for Some Campaignin'" when the candidates sing "When we promise you anything/You wanna hear/To win the crown we're chasin'!":GAS TAX HOLIDAYTROOPS HOME TOMORROWHEALTHCARE FOR ALL
- In "2012: The End Is Here":
- Chirping Crickets: Chirping crickets can be heard amongst the horrified looks from the parents after viewing the 2006 year in review.
- Clip-Art Animation
- Early-Bird Cameo: Mitt Romney in "It's Time for Some Campaigning"
- Early Installment Weirdness: The 2005 Year in Review "2-0-5" has several differences from later Year in Review videos. For one, while all reviews have been parodies of a single song, "2-0-5" mixed up "Auld Lang Syne" and "Turkey in the Straw." Second, all other year-in-review songs (barring "So Long to Ya, 2010") said as much about pop culture as they did about domestic and international news. Also, the part where there's a confused audience looking on at the singing stops after the second.
- Filk Song: Most of the songs are parodies of popular folk songs, from "This Land Is Your Land" by Woodie Guthrie to "The Times, They Are a-Changin'" by Bob Dylan.
- Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Most of the year-in-review videos have a montage to those who have died, showing them there.
- Ink-Suit Actor: The Weird Al videos, in which Al appears as Taylor Hicks and Jack White.
- Iris Out: The held open variant occurs at the end of "This Land"
- List Song: All the year-in-review songs.
- Literal Ass-Kicking: Both Barack Obama and Joe Biden do this to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan (who even lampshade this) in "2012: The End Is Here!"
- Lovable Sex Maniac: Bill Clinton is usually seen hanging around scantily-clad women. It almost always earns him a Dope Slap from Hillary for his troubles.Bill: [after getting smacked] What'd I do?
- Marilyn Maneuver: The Statue of Liberty does this pose in the rain and the winds of Hurricane Sandy in "2012: The End Is Here!"
- Mayan Doomsday: "2012: The End Is Here!" is naturally themed around this. ("Wishing you a 2013"). It was even uploaded on December 20, 2012 — the day before the supposed "Doomsday" would occur.
- Medium Blending: The 2009 End Review.
- Patter Song: Some, especially "2-0-5".
- Predatory Business: "Big Box Mart" is a heavy Take That! at this. A big retail chain, "Big Box Mart" sells everything very cheaply, but this results in factories outsourcing their labor force, because that's the only way they can make stuff cheap enough to sell to Big Box Mart. The protagonist who loved to shop at Big Box Mart loses his job and ends up working there as a janitor.
- President Superhero: Parodied in their video "He's Barack Obama", which makes fun of the nearly messianic view some had of President Obama when he came to office in 2009 by portraying him as a literal superhero who arrives to fix all of the US's problems.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Bush and Kerry are presented this way in "This Land".
- Rhyming with Itself: The Christmas song "Santa Claus" has one, combined with a Last-Second Word Swap:Santa: I'm running out of dough,
The bills ain't getting paid.
[camera cuts to Santa in bed with Ma Claus] I can't remember when,
The last time I got... [Beat, camera cuts back to Santa grabbing dollar bills] paid!
- Running Gag: Bill Clinton being interrupted by his wife Hilary, who slaps him for some infraction (even if what he's doing at the time isn't particularly lewd).
- Arnold Schwarzenegger has also showed up in some form since the 2009 year-end review
- School Play: "Nuckin' Futs", the 2006 review, is set in an elementary school complete with Creepy Children Singing to the tune of "Jingle Bells" with rewritten lyrics to sum up 2006. All Played for Laughs.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: "It's Time for some Campaigning" has McCain riding a tank, and Obama hopping around on a unicorn.
- Shave And A Haircut: At the end of "2012: The End Is Here!"
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism - Their "Year In Review" videos pretty much repeat Humans Are Bastards. Over and over again.
- Thankfully, the cycle's been broken for the 2009 Review, which doesn't claim Humans Are Bastards.
- And the 2007 review has about half its song dedicated to the positive things that happened that year.
- Straw Character: Nicely averted. They just mock whoever is in power, so they were just as ready to parody Obama as they were Bush.
- Strawman News Media/24-Hour News Networks: Satirized in "What We Call the News."
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Done with "The Year 2008 in Review", sung to the tune of "Miss Susie". One example:Baby Year 2008: Barrack [sic] defeated Johnny
So long to the far-right.
Now McCain has many houses,
But none of them are...
White men got passed over,
From Wasilla she was plucked;
When the maverick tapped a hockey mom
The press said, "What the..."
Truck bombs in Islamabad;
Bill Gates up and quit.
Putin stuck his chest out,
Told the Georgians to eat...
Ships were seized by pirates,
Ike and Gustav hit,
Johnny's honey had a baby,
But he said it wasn't...
HIIIIISSS-tory's now littered
With more famines, floods and wars.
If there's one thing I am grateful for,
It's that this job's now YOOOOUUUURS!
- The Theme Park Version: Each year in review song is, essentially, the theme park version of that year.
- We Didn't Start the Billy Joel Parodies: Done for their 2007 year in review.