As a teenager, I couldn’t get enough of Channel Awesome’s content. I especially enjoyed the Nostalgia Critic, and I eventually started watching his female counterpart, Lindsay Ellis, aka The Nostalgia Chick. Funnily enough, I remembering really disliking Ellis’ videos on Channel Awesome, feeling that she wasn’t following the ‘format.’ In hindsight, I realised that this was largely because this was never really her agenda. Nostalgia Critic videos (at least the old ones) were strongly commentary-based. The humour always came from scene-by-scene gags. Conversely, Ellis’ videos opted for broader, essay-type criticism.
The Nostalgia Chick, while producing really fun videos, was an inherently narrow premise. As the name suggests, Ellis’ persona introduced herself to be a female counterpart to the Nostalgia Chick. The limiting nature of the programme is noticeable in Ellis’ original catchphrase “I remember it because the dudes don’t.” The implication that Ellis was reviewing content not deigned important enough by the Critic persisted throughout the series. While I don’t wish to dismiss her considerable comedy chops, it felt like her heart wasn’t really in it back when she did Critic-style commentary. Ellis’ content noticeably improved once she no longer felt the need to follow the Channel Awesome format.
Ellis’ independent YouTube content spans across a number of genres. Loose Canons is a particularly fun series, analysing various pop culture trends. This can range from something like X-Men member Nightcrawler to the more complex topic of Hillary Clinton’s media presence. As someone who likes films and dabbles in critical theory, I especially enjoy Ellis’ film videos. Disney films are a particular speciality of hers, as seen in her excellent Hunchback of Notre Dame video.
While not primarily a political creator, Ellis also creates progressive, feminist content. Videos such as The Whole Plate series introduce a range of critical theory approaches within the context of Michael Bay‘s Transformers. The most interesting of these approaches is the challenge of female robots within the Transformers universe and their implications for gender theory.
My personal favourite video of Ellis is her video essay about The Producers. As someone who enjoys comedy but doesn’t necessarily enjoy abusive behaviour being excused under the flimsy premise of ‘trolling’ or ‘jokes’, her video really resonated. Using Mel Brooks‘ career as a guideline, Ellis draws the lines between satire, propaganda and cruelty within the realms of comedy.
However, if this kind of stuff isn’t your cup of tea, not to worry! Ellis has a range of other fun videos about Disney, Marvel comics and various other geek content. Basically, if you enjoy film, comics or animation, Ellis is a great resource for someone who wants a smarter take on these genres.
What do you think? Do you enjoy Ellis’ videos? Do you remember her from Channel Awesome? Let us know in the comments!