‘No dialogue’ clips on YouTube embrace the awkwardness of real life

A typical episode of the reality television show Shark Tank has to do with talking. Hopeful entrepreneurs have only a few minutes to sell their strange ideas to a panel of potential investors; how they explain that their product is often more important than the product itself. Then, when two contestants enter a room to be greeted only by the sound of the trailing papers and the wet slap of the mouths, the vibration becomes uncomfortable.

That's the point of the "no dialogue" videos, a YouTube trend that eliminates all spoken words in favor of glances, swallows and any other form of nonverbal communication you can imagine. Channels like Bill Smith have helped the format go viral, or at least land on night shows like Conan but the practice has been around for years as a way to make even the most mundane clip be weird and funny.

While the non-dialogue versions of programs like Shark Tank lend themselves well to mockery thanks to the tense nature of transactional reality reality shows, the format It works well in other genres. Dr. Phil, who is already a dramatic talk show by nature, reaches the levels of parody when it is reduced to the looks of the host of the same name and the tearful looks of the guests. Movies with tortuous dialogues, such as The Room have the opportunity to shine like a terrible cinema for any other reason. A video of a child kazoo player becomes a kind of strange horror movie.

If the laughter of a viewer in a viral video, which enriches the experience through sincerity, exists at one end of the spectrum, no dialogue is the opposite, a form that takes away the brightness of large-scale shows or movies. Production in favor of doing everything as uncomfortable as possible. Whether it's a reality show or a set of a movie, each subject suddenly is the sum of their sighs. It's like watching a comedy that takes place at the DMV. The jokes are only as good as the period of time they have come of age, but feeling uncomfortable and out of place is as timeless as it is universal.