One Nation Under TV borrows conventions from traditional animation while using contemporary music and animation techniques. Hand colored and manipulated sequential photographs set to discordant music tell the story of Bob, a hopelessly bored and depressed TV addict.
While glued to the tube he undergoes a series of nonsensical self-destructive acts. They are actively violent yet seemingly out of his control. He remains as passive and distraught as he is when he watches TV. True to cartoon tradition in which characters cannot die, Bob lives on in front of the box despite being burnt to a cinder, falling out of a 20-storey building and other usually fatal mishaps. Because the animation technique renders the character closer to reality than say, a mouse, these incidents appear particularly violent and absurd, as do the TV images they are intercut with, to create a claustrophobic and disturbing environment.
The action is closely synched with the soundtrack by the No Wave band, Bump:
We are one nation under TV / Theocracy
of inanity / These amber waves of passivity
get to me / From sea to shining sea of
color TV / We are one nation divided by TV /
Bathed in amber waves of inanity / From tube
to tube to shining tube / When I’m alone:
Aren’t you glad you use Dial? / We are one
nation under a Red, White and Blue and Green
Flag / The national intellect begins to sag
Into a Trinitron easy chair / Oh I don’t care,
I don’t care, I don’t care / the air, the air,
the world’s a hard place, / the air is here,
the air is thick and rife with entertainment, /
oh I don’t know what’s on outside / there
isn’t anything good on
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