Though the stakes are verbal, the gag is visual. While the gag is fulfilled, it’s delivered by switching modes of address. Hertzfeldt spells it out without spelling it out: HOW’S UP! appears onscreen, but the narrator doesn’t say it. The joke wouldn’t work if he simply verbalized the resulting foul-up, but by literally illustrating the line visually, he atomizes his prongs of attack: keeping text, image and sound separate, the director asks us to participate in completing the gag with him.
July 25, 2016