61. Uncanny Valley Effect, Bend Oregon

We add the uncanny valley effect and the city of Bend, Oregon to the List of Every Damn Thing.
Phil and Jake rank the emotional response known as the uncanny valley effect, and the city of Bend, Oregon on the List of Every Damn Thing.

If you have something to add to the list, email it to list@everydamnthing.net (or get at us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook).

  • Masahira Mori is a robot expert and professor (the ASIMO robot was designed by one of his students).
  • It should never be doubted that Jake has read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.
  • The Final Fantasy movie is an oft-cited example of the uncanny valley effect. It's an animated movie made entirely with CGI, like a video game cut-scene, and audiences were unsettled by the creepy dead eyes.The Beowulf movie has a similar vibe.
  • Pokemon of course doesn't go for photorealism, that's why it's universally beloved.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer gets a pet lobster who looks to Homer like this, whereas other characters see the lobster like this.
  • Boston Dynamics makes robots that move in human-like ways.
  • There's a character in Ted Lasso played by Brett Goldstein (who just won an Emmy for the role). Many viewers thought this guy didn't exist and was a CGI creation. It seems ludicrous until you see this picture of his character, he looks like a FIFA video game character.
  • Breath of the Wild is a Nintendo game that's beautiful but not photorealistic. It bypasses the uncanny valley.
  • Star Wars tried CGI versions of Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing in the same movie. It seems gross and scary to Phil (unlike C-3P0 and R2-D2).
  • Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation was a real human actor deliberately playing a robot who seemed vaguely unnatural. Phil missed the point of any stories about him because he looked different.
  • Charlie XCX is a pop star who's worked with PC Music which is a hard-to-explain collective / label that navigates the uncanny valley of music (if that exists) by making aggressively fake-sounding music and wallowing in artifice. The way she (or any public figure) manages her persona is tied up with UV-related ideas. In looking for a proper clip of her to link to we found this news story about how her record label is pushing her to be more "real" and she would prefer to be less real! 
  • Drum machines are like this too. The 808 kick drum doesn't sound real, that's why it's better than some other more real-sounding synthesizers.
  • Here's the biting dolls scene from Barbarella.
  • The Polar Express is a deeply cursed movie and features an uncanny valley hall-of-fame performance by Steven Tyler as a scatting Christmas elf.
  • The Matrix Reloaded had a big fight scene which had been promoted ahead of the release of the film but when the movie came out it was unsatisfying and weightless, and it didn't help that it came out around the same time as Kill Bill Vol. 1, which had a massive fight scene with real stakes and actual physicality.
  • REI’s headquarters is in Kent, WA (not Bend).
  • While in Bend, Jake picked up a hazy IPA from Immersion Brewing. It paired pretty well with the Impossible Burger that he got from the Incred-A-Bowl food truck.
  • Les Schwab was the founder of a chain of tire retailers in the Western US. Phil is probably conflating the permanent tire fire on the Simpsons with an event in the 90s in Oregon where there was a real tire fire and he assumed that because it involved tires and Oregon, it had something to do with Les Schwab.
  • Our vague recollection of some sort of some kind of lava cave attraction near Bend was surely about the Lava River Cave.

Below are the Top Ten and Bottom Top items on List of Every Damn Thing as of this episode (for the complete up-to-date list, go here).

  1. Dolly Parton - person
  2. interspecies animal friends - idea
  3. sex - idea
  4. Clement Street in San Francisco - location
  5. Prince - person
  6. It’s-It - food
  7. Cher - person
  8. Pee-Wee Herman - fictional character
  9. Donald Duck - fictional character
  10. Hank Williams - person


188. Jenny McCarthy - person
189. Jon Voight - person
190. Hank Williams, Jr - person
191. British Royal Family - institution
192. Steven Seagal - person
193. McRib - food
194. war - idea
195. cigarettes - drug
196. QAnon - idea
197. transphobia - idea

Theme song by Jade Puget. Graphic design by Jason Mann. This episode was produced & edited by Jake MacLachlan, with audio help from Luke Janela. Show notes by Jake MacLachlan & Phil Green.

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