As the saying goes, there are two types of people in this world: those for whom the phrase “My spoon is too big!” triggers a powerful adolescent sense memory, and those for whom it does not.
Maybe you first saw it at a friend’s house. They downloaded a postage-stamp-sized .avi file from a peer-to-peer network like Kazaa. Maybe your uncle declared, “You gotta watch this,” and thrust the clip in front of you. Maybe you found it on Google Videos (remember Google Videos?). Life is but a series of moments, and watching a bootleg copy of Don Hertzfeldt’s Rejected on your computer is one of those moments everyone shares.
Passed around online for years, the short film made phrases like “My anus is bleeding!” canonical and inspired a whole bunch of weird stuff. If there is a single piece of media that inspired what we nebulous refer to as “internet humor,” it’s probably Rejected. The film, premised as a series of cartoons for an educational channel, was a viral phenomenon back when the internet was decentralized. Instead of one clip hosted on one page or one social-media account going viral, the file traveled around, shared between a diversity of small audiences who all separately concluded, “This is wild and insanely good.” That’s very rare nowadays.
Finally, you can watch Rejected in 4K resolution, thanks to a re-upload from Hertzfeldt himself posted Monday. (The new transfer comes from a 2015 Blu-Ray collection of his work.)
Damn, look how crisp that is. If it feels a bit too uncanny, feel free to go into the player settings, and knock the quality down to a more familiar 240p.
Nostalgic viewers are sounding off in the comments.
This was fun! See you guys in 20 years for the 5K rerelease.