This is a perhaps hidden or forgotten gem from the halcyon days of Andy Samberg’s Digital Shorts on SNL.
Incidentally, there was a time when you could only view these SNL clips on Hulu, but I would suppose that when Samberg left SNL he was able to take the digital shorts with him because they can now be found on Youtube.
Though his best known Digital Short will always be his “(Expletive deleted) in a box” production with Justin Timberlake, his lesser-known “Threw It on the Ground” is hilarious on many levels.
Before reading further, click the photo link above to watch the video on Youtube. I’ll wait….
Now here’s why I find the video so effective.
The character Samberg creates is paranoid of a ubiquitous “system” – yet the only systemic phenomenon is his own state of delusion. Concurrently, he is caught up in today’s all-too-common realm of false bravado and edginess, and in each example his anger is completely misdirected at people who are at worst neutral and innocuous, and at best are downright benevolent.
All these factors add up to produce a cutting juxtaposition of Samberg and those either trying to deliver benevolence, innocently trying to do their jobs or simply ignorant of his existence altogether. The fact that he attributes his tazing to validate his delusional belief that “you can’t trust the system” is a fitting punchline.
I admire when someone creates a character with such complexity – though I concede you may not view the video the same way; you may find the character to be a ridiculous imp. The result of watching the video (repeatedly) was to provoke further pondering of this character and how he might react in other situations. For example, I contend that the character, if actually faced with a real situation in which he is indeed legitimately disrespected, he would probably back down. It’s only when facing completely innocent people that he can summon up the hip-hop style cojones. Or, because he’s so paranoid he wouldn’t even recognize a true example of disrespect foisted upon him. He simply wouldn’t know how to react, for example, to being bullied.
Now, I had been meaning to write about this video for several weeks but recently I was inspired truly by divine intervention. I was reading this passage of the Bible – and I should point out the version because that’s important; it’s the New International Version. Lo and behold, this passage appeared to me, as if in a dream. Exodus 4:3.
Signs for Moses
4 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
2 Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the Lordsaid to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”
In the spirit of the Samberg video, I picture God saying to Moses: “You can’t DOUBT me! I’m your Creator! That’s not a staff; that’s a SNAKE!”
Though, because Moses is actually the one who “threw it on the ground” – the lyrics would more appropriate come from him. Actually, though, if Moses were like Samberg’s character, he would’ve been defiant of God. I can’t picturing him throwing something on the ground simply because somebody, even his own Creator, told him to do it. Can you? That wouldn’t fit his mode of defiance; he’d be obedient – i.e., part of the Lord’s “system”.
Now, I reference the Bible’s version because later I found through the help of a nearby Bible expert that many other versions don’t use “Throw it on the ground.” They use, “Cast it on the ground” or some variation of that.
I wonder if Samberg is even aware that this is stated in the Bible. I’ll have to try to send it to him if I can.
Nevertheless, from this day forward I will always strive to preface the phrase “Throw it to the ground” with, “The Lord said.” In some cases I may even simply state, “Exodus 4:3” – and only a select few will get the reference.
The only ones who’ll get the reference are those people who are indeed part of my “system”.