“[A] genre of video meme where some obsessive-compulsive superfan collects every phrase/action/cliche from an episode (or entire series) of their favorite show/film/game into a single massive video montage.”
Since then, there have been hundreds of supercuts tirelessly assembled, from the 198 best jokes from Mystery Science Theater 3000 and bad advice from TV dads to every episode of “The Itchy and Scratchy Show” on The Simpsons.
“When it’s done really well, it surfaces either a cliché or a catch-phrase or a behavior that maybe’s not that immediately obvious how widely-used it is,” Baio told the Daily Dot.
“It’s sort of exposing, in the best possible way, in the most visual immediate way, that a cliché exists.”
With that in mind—and as a companion piece to our feature on the art of the supercut—here are five of the best examples of the genre currently available on YouTube.
1) “Let’s Enhance”
Anyone who’s ever watched an episode of CSI, NCIS, or any other CBS acronym show knows the “photo enhance” cliche well. But a scene where a photo tech identifies a suspect by zooming in on the reflection of a woman’s eye seems even more ridiculous when taken out of context. Plus: Baio said “Let’s Enhance” might be his all-time favorite of the genre.
2) “Nic Cage Losing His Shit”
It wouldn’t be a supercut list without Harry Hanrahan, whose videos have been watched over 50 million times on YouTube. This one is a masterpiece, distilling the fevered overwrought genius of Nicolas Cage into four glorious minutes.
3) “Every Arnold Scream From Every Arnold Movie”
If you had to explain Arnold Schwarzenegger to someone who’d never seen an action movie in the ’80s or ’90s, all you’d need is this video. This is the essence of Arnold—Austrian gut roars and, of course, ripping a vulture’s throat out with one’s teeth.
4) “Dancing Alone to ‘Pony’ Supercut”
Who knew there were so many videos of people dancing alone to Ginuwine’s 1996 classic slow jam “Pony”? And who knew that the kind of person who dances alone to “Pony” would be the source of so much comedic gold?
5) “I’m Not Here to Make Friends!”
The bad boy/girl has been a trope of reality TV since Puck antagonized America on The Real World: San Francisco. Inevitably, the surly star in question will scream, “I’m not here to make friends!” like it’s the first time it’s ever been uttered. Reality shows are an easy target, sure, but this is a brilliant piece of cultural criticism, epitomizing the genre’s obviously contrived narratives and the sad predictability of its stars.
Bonus: Christian Marclay’s “The Clock”
This one’s not on YouTube because you can only see it in an art gallery. It’s a 24-hour remix that includes thousands of film and television clips referencing the time of day. The film is shown in real time so when it’s 1pm, a scene is shown where 1pm is seen on a clock or mentioned by a character. In lieu of the actual video, here is a television news report on Marclay and his groundbreaking piece.