Everything Is Terrible!

by Frog

Let's say that there is a world before the Internet and there is another after (to be honest, after the arrival of social networks there is another world too). 

Those who lived before the arrival of the internet did things that, for the people living in symbiosis with their smartphone, seem more distant than the battles of Alexander the Great, such as the world of videotapes. 

Videotapes, or rather the VCR, originated in the mid-1970s, but it took a few years before it was affordable for many families. So finally in the early '80s it was possible to watch (and sometimes rewatch over and over again) a film whenever you wanted to, without waiting for unlikely third visions in the provincial movie theaters, or waiting to watch it on a TV channel.

Of course, the first visions remained exclusive to cinemas, but with a little patience you could have a videotape of some "beautiful" film and watch it in peace sitting on the sofa at home. 

For everybody a videotape was a "VHS" (acronym for Video Home System), the format that The Majors had chosen as the definitive one, but for a certain period there were two formats in circulation, VHS and Betamax. 

A kind of a Japanese version of Apple vs Windows, because Sony and JVC, two Japanese giants, were the two players challenging each other in the world of videotapes. In this case Betamax was the Apple of the situation (let's say it ended up differently). 

Created in 1975 by Sony it was of a better quality but also much more expensive, then in 1976 JVC comes out with the VHS and, to allow the greater diffusion of its products, it grants licenses to other producers.

Rumors are that, in order to recover part of the investments made in research and experimentation, Sony has sold its share of patents to JVC, essential for completing the creation of the VHS, effectively helping its enemy. 

In any case, JVC's choice to allow external companies to produce VHS video recorders has an immediate consequence, the market is flooded with devices at significantly lower prices than Betamax ones, no matter if the quality is lower, sales start to take off. 

Unfortunately for Sony there is no fan base in love with their product and above all, unlike Apple, they don't have a snake charmer like Steve Jobs, plus the VHS tape lasts up to 4 hours, much longer than the rival Betamax. 

When eventually the Hollywood production companies decide that the ideal format would have been VHS, the fate of Sony's creature is definitively sealed. In 1985 the market is 70/30 in favor of VHS cassettes, shortly after Betamax disappears, while Sony stubbornly continues to produce it until 2002, when the last 2000 copies are released.

The VHS still resists a few years, exhausted by the spread of DVD and then made obsolete by streaming, officially surrenders in July 2016, when the last company left in the world to produce VHS video recorders, Funai Electric (of course Japanese), stops producing them, not for the drop in sales (incredibly, in the previous year Funai sold 750,000 units in 2015), but for the difficulty in obtaining components from suppliers who had by now diversified production.

The "VHS mania" in fact has never disappeared, and it certainly is not a fashion born in recent times. 

In Los Angeles there is "Everything Is Terrible!" a collective of artists founded in 2000 by a group of friends while they were at the University of Ohio. VHS enthusiasts have begun to recover old tapes in the various "garage sales" and in the sale bins of electronics stores. 

After a while they realized that the cassette of the film "Jerry Maguire" was popping up everywhere, and they had a crazy idea: to open a shop to "keep" only cassettes of that film (there are over 24,000 copies! And they accept donations). 

The collective, however, does not just collect VHS, they have created a series of installations involving the videotape and among the various things they do there is also a continuous production of videos using old films, with results that redefine the word "trash". 

The guys from "Everything Is Terrible!" however are visionaries, and they have a dream: to build a pyramid in the California desert where to keep all the cassettes of "Jerry Maguire", to definitively consecrate that masterpiece. 

If by chance among your parents' collection you find a VHS of "Jerry Maguire" don't throw it away, send it to "Everything Is Terrible!" to help realize their dream.

We always have noticed since the beginning that there seems to be nothing but just Jerry Maguire tapes filling our nation's thrift stores.
I don't know why.
Everything Is Terrible!