Not content with creating the latest viral video sensation in the form of The Greatest Event in Television History, Cartoon Network’s late-night offshoot Adult Swim has taken another step towards dominating the Internet comedy scene with the creation of a new website, Thing X.
According to the announcement of the site’s launch, “Thing X uses the conceptual launch point of a click-hungry web portal to satirize everything on the Internet through exclusive videos, columns, interviews, reviews, e-mails, blurbs, bleeps, cybersnips, and podcasts.” If you’re wondering what that actually means in non-corporate PR-speak, perhaps the website itself can help put things in some perspective:
As the site’s creative director, Joe Randazzo, explains, “Each month, the site will explore one central, human theme, through a series of video, polls, incantations, recipes, quizzes, and… blogs, or whatever.” So, that’s much clearer, then.
Perhaps the site’s own “About” page will offer more clarity: “Thing X, Inc. strives to provide an unparalleled digital experience – not through a monstrous, semi-organic web-based intelligence that will exploit users’ clicks and page views to gradually enslave them,” it reads, “but by providing the best content from every square micrometer of the Internet, every single day.” So that’s… good, I think?
All of this sounds somewhat Onion-esque, it has to be said. Turns out, there’s a really, really good reason for that: Thing X is essentially made up of Onion writers. Randazzo is a former editor for the site, and he’s joined by senior writers and editors from The Onion, as well as the site’s former digital product manager. Despite this, the announcement from Adult Swim of the site’s launch would rather play it up as something brand new and completely original, with Randazzo calling Thing X “a unique opportunity for us to create something totally new and original that is very much a product of the digital age.” That sounds like the kind of sarcastic comment he makes on the site, but apparently he means it this time, adding that “the content we’re making for Thing X is kind of insane. It’s going to be unlike anything else out there.” Well, aside from The Onion, of course.
Outside of Onion alums, the site will also feature contributions in future from Adult Swim regulars including Gregg Turkington, Aqua Teen Hunger Force‘s Dave Willis and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!‘s Tim Heidecker. It may not necessarily have the immediate appeal of The Greatest Event or even some of Adult Swim’s regular programming – Ah, Venture Bros, it’s been far, far too long since we’ve enjoyed your concise pop cultural cruelty – and it may be a little too hard to separate the fictional desperation for clicks from the reality, but still: One to watch in future, I suspect.