Wisecrack is a Youtube channel created by Jared Bauer that features several different educational web shows. Unlike other contemporary shows, the material is presented in a very unique way; the host of each show plays a specific character which they use to both educate and entertain their audience. The channel first started off as a single show called Thug Notes on June 3, 2013; in fact that was the channel's original name. It later expanded to include other shows, at which point the named changed to what it is now. As of this WU, there are four main shows under the Wisecrack banner as described below.
Thug Notes was the original show on Wisecrack. It is hosted by Greg Edwards playing the character Sparky Sweets PhD, who does a literary analysis of famous and classic books ranging from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee to Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare to Fifty Shades of Gray by E. L. James. The material is presented in Sparky's "Original Gangster" style, full of low-brow vocabulary and street slang. To give an example of this style, in the Summary/Analysis video of Moby Dick, this is how Sparky describes Ishmael's ability to sit back and accept that bad things happen: "See my boy Ishmael ain't trippin' 'bout the fact that the world's a twisted place that gonna burn a brotha". As the material is presented, animations are shown to portray what Sparky is talking about, and to add a humorous backdrop, classical music is played in the background throughout the entire video.
8-Bit Philosophy deals primarily with ideas in philosophy like "Are your actions good?" and "Is change an illusion?", and is narrated by Nathan Lowe. This is the only show (to date) that does not have the host appear on screen, but rather has a narrator. The entire video, including the background music, is created using scenes and music from old 8-bit games like Super Mario, Donkey Kong, etc. For example, when the narrator describes Plato's story "The Ring of Gyges", the video shows an 8-bit Link (from the Zelda games) acting out the scene of finding the ring, using it to become invisible, and taking over the kingdom with the help of the princess.
Earthling Cinema is a show that does film analysis. It is hosted by Mark Schroeder who plays the character of Garyx Wormuloid. Garyx is the host of a show in an alien civilization in the much distant future, long after Earth was destroyed. He goes through various films like Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump, describing the meaning and message behind the films, while at the same time being hilarious wrong about most aspects of the realities of Earth. For example, in the analysis of Fight Club, (spoiler alert) when Edward Norton's character shoots himself in the cheek, effectively killing Tyler, Garyx says "Edward NorTAAN shoots himself in the cheek, which destroys Tyler, because imaginary friends always live inside your cheek; at least that's my interpretation". It is a show that is reminiscent of the short shows about ancient cultures one would see in a museum.
Pop Psych! is a show that involves the psychiatric analysis of famous fictional characters. It is hosted by Tessa Goss who plays an unnamed psychiatrist. She is portrayed as somewhat drunk, always having a glass of wine on hand. She has analyzed characters like Santa Claus and Golem from The Lord of the Rings. The majority of the show's animations show a hand scribbling out notes and drawings from the point of view of the psychiatrist as she goes through and describes the symptoms each of these
characters patients exhibit, as well as a diagnosis to detail out what they might be suffering from. For example, in the case of Batman, Bruce chose to become Batman not because a bat flew through his window, but because the (last) movie he watched with his parents the night they died was Zorro; because Social Learning Theory says that we learn our behaviour from watching a model, Bruce was heavily influenced by the movie and became his own "Zorro". His diagnosis was that he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.