The Panel: Things were decidedly casual, with the panel featuring only Look Around You stars/creators Peter Serafinowicz and Robert Popper. It’s fitting, though, given the show is a spoof of ‘70s science education videos viewed by the two growing up. This is a personal project, so no one else had to talk about it. The pair bantered back and forth, showed clips from the few 10-minute episodes, and bantered some more.
Show, Not Tell: There was a clip of the show to kick things off, containing random snippets from a bunch of first season episodes. If you didn’t know the format the show takes, those clips might have been a bit too random to provide much context; me, though, having seen and enjoyed the entire first season, was properly whetted for more.
Most Valuable Panelist: Well there were only two, and they both threw out plenty of zingers and let themselves be open to funny moments born out of improvisation. They told the story of getting together as kids to watch these educational videos, “Two men watching a finger point to a piece of nickel,” Popper said. “Then we’d masturbate for hours.” Serafinowicz would call out random things Popper said and bring the audience on board. “Let’s have a round of applause for the Internet,” he threw out based on something Popper said, then later spun a mention of the police into a riff on the band The Police.
Burning Question: An audience member asked about Gelg, the fictional composer of Look Around You’s musical score that’s really just Serafinowicz and Popper. He wanted to know whether Gelg would ever go on tour and write more music. To the delight of, well, everyone, Serafinowicz replied, “Someone’s approached us.” People went nuts.
Spoiler Alert: There was talk of Look Around You: The Motion Picture, though I’ll have to see it to believe it. Though I’d thoroughly enjoy it and its hours of people’s hands doing experiments.
Quotables: There were a few lines that, quite honestly, wouldn’t mean much simply quoted here. It was how they were said. Serafinowicz is a master of impressions, and during the panel he threw out a perfect American twang, a little Don Corleone, and an absolutely brilliant bit where Alan Alda auditioned for the role of Priness Leia. It was uncanny.
But Wait, There’s More: I also learned two New York factoids. One, the guys flew all the way to New York for one shot in the show—and they almost forgot to film it entirely. And two, that they found out the show was picked up by the BBC…on 9/11. Yikes. They also showed a short film called Markets Of London, where they dubbed words over grainy old footage of marketgoers buying chickens and bails of sticks. It was unabashedly silly and hysterical.
The Big Picture: The panel screened enough episodes to educate the uninitiated, and provided enough behind-the-scenes looks to satiate die-hard fans. (Popper brought out the pair’s joke notebook and unearthed some forgotten faux-science gems, like how the dinosaurs became extinct because their brains were made of fossils.) The two played well off each other, too.