At the end of the summer, teachers across the country will return to work. They’ll clean off old desks in poorly lit classrooms, filled with supplies paid for with their own paychecks. Soon after, kids will arrive, rambunctious from weeks of break but happy to see friends again.
Somehow, I’ll bet those teachers will show their kids this video.
The comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have produced a pitch-perfect parody of ESPN’s Sports Center, with a twist—it’s not about professional athletics, but about professional educators. The plea that Americans care more about sports than civics is a common one, as Aisha Harris writes at Slate, yet Key and Peele have managed to make it seem fresh through their sheer enthusiasm and attention to detail.
I mean, stick around for that fake BMW ad at the end. Or for the “highlight of the day.” Or for the pair’s remarkable echo of ESPN Anchor Voice. This is a video that rewards multiple viewings.
There’s a double critique here, too. The pair clearly love good teaching, but could their focus on test scores hint that the country’s own obsession with them flows from its obsession with sports? Education, unlike football, is neither a spectator sport nor a zero-sum game.
Professional designers and futurists have a concept called “design fiction.” Design fiction is an object or media product that seems to come from the future, something that lets viewers ask questions about the world in which they live. We’re only halfway through 2015, but I’m ready to predict that, without even meaning to, Key and Peele have produced the year’s most-watched—and possibly most already-beloved—piece of design fiction.
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