What goes into a great cat video? Sure, any palooka with an iPhone can upload footage of their beloved pet acting like a silly Billy, but it takes a certain something to raise a particular cat from quick YouTube diversion to bona fide Internet superstar. VICE‘s latest documentary does its best to discover that je ne se quoi. The popular magazine/YouTube channel has released the first part of Lil Bub and Friendz, a documentary about the web’s most famous kitties.
In the first installment, we meet our heroes. In addition to titular heroine Bub, whose slack-jawed, big-eyed countenance has been cute enough to earn her a deal with Revision3, the film also examines Grumpy Cat, Keyboard Cat, Nyan Cat, and a host of other viral felines. Naturally, Lil Bub and Friendz‘s main draw are the constant shots of these cats, who stare adorable into the camera and draw a chorus of awws (except for Nyan Cat, who does not do that, because Nyan Cat, believe it or not, is not real).
As we saw in the Lil Bub and Friendz promos, however, the film is not just a collection of mood enhancing cat pics. In addition, it is attempting to drill down into the psychology of cat videos to determine why we watch them. In the first quarter, we are treated to an examination of the social behaviors of cats vs. dogs, the uncanny valley of cats who look like humans, and the manner in which YouTube monetization interacts with cat UGC.
Of course, if that’s too heady for you, you can sit back and let cute kitty after cute kitty parade across your computer screen. Your choice.