The much anticipated web series ‘Eurobubble‘ – well let’s say much anticipated here in Brussels – has finally put out its first episodes. We have three so far. And that is exactly 10 min and 17 seconds of video in total! I am pointing this out merely because I like them all, especially considering the tiny budget the producers have at their disposal. But I have noticed that the length of the episodes is rapidly decreasing. The first episode was 4:39; the second 3:08 while the third episode came down to 2:38. And each episode has 30 seconds of titles (more on that later). I am scared that if I blink, I’ll miss the next one! Seriously, I am all for short videos, to keep people’s attention span. But isn’t this cutting things too short?
Here is the first episode – the long one!- to give you a taste:
Let me say immediately that I applaud this initiative and I really enjoyed watching them all.
First and most importantly: it’s well written. When I spoke about it in one of my previous posts, my worry was that it wouldn’t be funny enough. But it is quite funny for a selected audience, I guess, as most of the funny bits are for ‘insiders’. It flows and the description of the characters and the situations is accurate and witty.
Second: the graphics and the music are good. The Catch me if you can-style title sequence is definitely well done – if perhaps a bit long – and I suspect Steven Spielberg had a slightly bigger budget!
Third: as non-professional actors go, I think Yacine and the rest of the cast is doing a very good job, probably because they are all pretending to be….themselves!
Having said this, the main issue I have with the series is its speed, which is the flip side of the coin of the qualities I just mentioned. It feels as if someone has left their thumb on the fast forward button. I know it is fashionable to speak fast, especially for non-native speakers, so you can show how well you master the English language. And a lot of people think it makes you look smarter. When I was working for Newsnight, I remember the morning meetings as a race to see who could speak fastest, as if what you had to say would be considered more insightful or newsworthy if told at max speed. I justified it to myself – probably wrongly- by saying: ‘we are a news programme, news has to be fast. But in this case, the speed makes some parts of the script incredible – can you actually find a job so easily and quickly in Brussels these days? – or prevents you from understanding some lines, which is a shame. And the lovely graphics appear and then disappear in a nano-second: they are great but fly by and you can’t take them in. I guess you could pause the film and read it, but why should that be necessary? Is it so problematic to keep them on screen for a little bit longer?
Maybe I am just getting older – an wiser hopefully! – but I do believe that smart and fast do not always go hand in hand; and neither do funny and fast for that matter. So could we calm down for a second?