Annoying characters doing trendy dances and then getting shot


I saw “Gollum does Gangnam Style in LEGO” by Hampster Productions earlier today and had several thoughts:

  1. Gollum’s arm animation is impressive.
  2. Excessive violence is not an appropriate response to something that annoys you.
  3. Oh wait, didn’t I do this same concept back in 2003?

This bizarre moment of déjà vu caused me to reflect on how frequently disturbing violence is causally included in brick animations. Some times it’s there for comedic effect.  The “Dane Cook Gets _______” meme was all about making a central act of violence funny through clever presentation. TV Tropes calls our ability to selectively turn off our empathy so we can laugh at the pain of another comedic sociopathy, which is both apt and chilling.

Far more frequent are the violent brick animations without a punchline (or story). Custard Production‘s “Lego Street Shootout” is perhaps the best known of this type, but it’s hard to turn over a rock without finding a dozen of similar animations on YouTube. What is the appeal of all this stylized violence? I’m really curious to hear what people think.