Media pundits love to talk about how today’s youth gets its news from The Daily Show. Whether that’s true or not (I’m thinking not), what about those who are informed on current affairs but lacking in the pop culture department? Sure, there’s The Soup, Best Week Ever, and What the Buck, but what if you want your juicy celebnews distilled down to the simplest possible form – stop-motion crayon animation?
Well, Erika Adickman has you more than covered. While answering phones outside the writers’ room of ABC’s Notes from the Underbelly, she picked up a couple Crayolas and began doodling her pop culture musings. Those drawings found the focus of a digital camera and with some guidance from her mentor, Friends writer Adam Chase, have now become the ironically reluctant but informative web series, Pop Waffle.
The series is much more than a recap of celebrity gossip in a composition book. It’s a showcase of great music, each episode featuring songs from not-quite-mainstream pop artists like Kate Nash and Ben Kweller. Erika says that she spends substantial time searching for songs that sing to her; friends and fans also suggest music that they think “sounds really Pop Waffle.”
It’s smart commentary on our dumb, sensationalized celebrity culture, piqued by her use of elementary school media.
Crayons and cutouts on college-ruled paper capture the absurdity of what catches our collective attention, perhaps better than talking head fundits ever could. Pop Waffle says things that we’ve thought but usually aren’t witty enough to articulate. Case in point: “This will be Montel’s last season… c’mon, you mean nobody else needs a paternity test??”
The videos that seem to attract the most attention are Erika’s literal cartoon interpretations of popular songs, like Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ or Alanis Morrissette’s Ironic. Her assertion that “The only thing ironic about [the song Ironic] is that everyone thinks that they’re the first one to point out that nothing in the song is actually ironic” is the essence of that ‘smart commentary’ I love.
Over the past 48 hours, I’ve become a fan. As someone who prefers CNN to E!, it took a few episodes to really catch the groove, but once I did, I was hooked. You could call it a pleasant Pop Waffle stomach ache. In the spirit of pop culture references, I must say “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop.”
BTW, if Pop Waffle’s style feels familiar to you, it may be because you’ve seen The Mortified Shoebox Show. That intro, those hands – it’s all Erika.