That thing (above) is sitting right next to my laptop as I type this and it’s really, really annoying. A while back, Hannah got me watching YouTube videos featuring The Annoying Orange which, (in case you don’t already know due to living in Siberia or Uranus or Runcorn) is an American comedy web series. The Orange of the title certainly lives up to his Annoying label. In fact ‘Annoying’ is too small a word to describe what Orange is. And yet, the short episodes are weirdly compulsive and now my six-year-old, Alice, has also become a fan. The thing next to my laptop is a soft toy (it actually says ‘Hey Apple!’ and ‘Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?’ and some of the Orange’s other standard lines). So what’s the appeal of this maddening little fruit? (see what I did there? ap-peel!!?)
The Annoying Orange was created by former Minnesota film student and MTV production assistant Dane Boedigheimer in 2009. Raised in North Dakota, he frequently made home videos as a teen using his parents’ 8mm video camera. This would later inspire him to work as a camera operator for local TV stations. After college Boedigheimer worked as a production assistant on MTV‘s Pimp My Ride but the 60- and 80-hour working weeks would leave little time to do his movie-making at home. After finishing working for the show, Dane decided that he didn’t want to pursue a career in television.
Boedigheimer founded the company Gagfilms, which slowly built a core of fans. He said in an interview that The Annoying Orange had almost been The Annoying Apple. When he found it easier to put clear features on an orange than on an apple, the character as we know it was born. It was also meant to be the only Annoying Orange video on YouTube but many viewers requested more and after the fourth one, Boedigheimer decided to make a full series.
Personally, I think it works because, number one it is so simple; there’s no room for padding and each character is a really strong and recognisable archetype. Number two, the Orange himself, despite being really, really, really, really annoying, is just the snotty little kid we all used to be (and maybe still wish to be). Oh yes, and it’s funny.