Today I’m focusing on Ephemeral safety films featuring that all-knowing, all-judging voice of reason, The Narrator. This Paternalistic Condescender is the bridge between You, The Viewer and You, the Doofus on Screen. Unlike the overtly idiotic and risky Goofuses from the ‘Goofus and Gallant’-style videos, people in Paternalistic Condescender videos are relatable, identifiable, and make terrible choices. You, The Viewer are in the unique position of sharing the Narrator’s godlike omniscience and wisdom, while still capable of all the foibles of your onscreen counterparts. The idea is to see yourself in the mistakes onscreen, and listen to the literal Voice of Reason (almost always male) to avoid them yourself.
Before we start, remember how I mentioned the one time that guy caught everything on fire in ’Hospital Safety’?
The narrator remains calm and impassive even as the ward burns to the ground.
I’ve written a lot about ‘Live and Learn’ (and made several GIFs of children falling off cliffs), so I’ll let these additional images speak for themselves.
What I didn’t know until recently is ‘Live and Learn’ had a sequel filmed 2 years later in color called ’Why Take Chances?’ It features the same Narrator remarking calmly on childrens’ foolish impulses and casually noting their grim injuries. ‘Why Take Chances’ goes a step further and features intertitled cartoon versions of the kids’ injuries. Somehow that seems like it would impress kids with the idea they’d only get ‘cartoon’ killed if they dropped a piano on a pal’s head.
‘Time Out For Trouble’ is BANANAS. It features a rare female narrator, but since the entire premise of the film is how accidents are caused by EMOTIONS (instead of, you know, boiling water falling on you), of course they have a female narrator. When the narrator isn’t tsk-tsking couples in broken relationships for their psychological pain, the voiceover is provided by (I am not making this up) a psychotic clock bent on killing the leading lady through emotions for calling the clock an eyesore.
(Just one of the many ways the clock uses household items and rage to kill)
1990′s ‘Range Safety’ is the ‘Don’t Do What Donny Don’t Does’ of gun safety. The narrator has all the outrage and breathless pace of a Hard Copy story intro at the many, many ways people incorrectly use guns.