How many cooks is too many cooks? Director, producer, and writer Chris “Casper” Kelly would say 67. “Too Many Cooks” is a short that first aired October 28, 2014, during the Adult Swim “infomercial” block at 4:00 am. The eleven minute short immediately went viral. The dark humored spoof on sitcoms hit a funny bone many could not get enough of, but what lies hidden underneath the surface? Spoiler warning. Due to the implied nudity and graphic nature of the short, it can not be shown here, a link is provided at the bottom of the article. It is highly recommended before continuing with the article.
To quickly summarize the events of “Too Many Cooks,” a family is introduced in a theme song format, all seems normal until a killer begins to murder the members of the show. This idea is carried through the skit as it continually references sitcoms and other television shows, mostly from the 80’s and 90’s.
What Others Are Saying
Quite a few different sources have been talking about “Too Many Cooks” in a variety of different ways. Edwin Turner relates “The Philosophy of Composition,” by Edgar Allan Poe to the short, replacing the arranged effect of “Beauty” with “Horror.” Julian Darius called the video “A Sublime Postmodern Masterpiece.” PBS Ideas Channel even did a video about “Too Many Cooks” and what it says about the meaning of life (video down below).
After pouring over “Too Many Cook” innumerable times, it became clear that there are a lot of details that are easily missed. While no one really knows all the ins-and-outs except its creators, we have drawn one clear conclusion. While there are several social statements about morality, patriarchy, etc, one thing became apparent after reviewing the article time and time again. The father is the killer. We have five key points that support our theory:
1) The father, Ken, and the killer, Bill, are never in the same scene (or room) together
2) Bill never kills the father
3) The lyrics of the song seem to represent the father and mother, but change to only represent the killer
4) The theme music emanates from two characters only, the killer and the dad
5) When Ken takes the final picture in the film, his face morphs into that of the killer, Bill
The dad is the leader of the house, he is the first person in the intro and as such it is his responsibility to keep his family on the right path. However, he does not get the opportunity because there are too many cooks getting in the way to even start the show. Perhaps, if there were less cooks the intro could end and the show would start (when the show does start, he is also the only person to get any lines).
While the first point is self-explanatory, some of the other points warrant further explanation. Bill never kills Ken, in fact when Katie is running away she runs right past Ken, unassuming that he could not be responsible for any wrong doings. Additionally, it would make sense for Ken to be the first person to switch places with the credit of his name, but instead, the second person shown, the mother, is the first to be replaced by her name.
Our third point is that the song lyrics seem to parallel the murderous onslaught of the killer. Most 1980’s and 1990’s sitcom themes are sung from the position or standpoint of the shows guardians, usually the father and mother. A perfect example of this model is the show Family Ties, in which the father and mother sing about how they would not be able to make it without family. The theme song for “Too Many Cooks” is arranged in a similar fashion, with the Father and Mother singing about how a “family is like a stew”, and then it gets interesting. The song changes slightly during the scene where Bill is eating the cook family. Usually the male sings, the female sings, or they both sing, but by the time the detective shows up, all female solo sections have ended and all parts are either sung by the male or both. The lyrics change from, “it takes a lot to make a stew, when it comes to me and you” to “it takes a lot to make a stew, when it’s made of me and you.”
Additionally, the killer is presented as a father figure. For one, Bill watches over many of the “Cooks” (they are the cook family after all) from the background in the early moments of the video. While it may just be a coincidence that the killer shares the name of the man who was once heralded as America’s Dad Bill Cosby, it is noteworthy that the killer dons a very Cosby-esque “dad sweater.”
The fourth point that Bill and Ken share is that they are the only two characters in the film that the theme song emanates from. When Bill is chasing Katie from her dorm room back to the house the theme song clearly comes from his body. Later, when the doctor is examining the father, the doctor is quoted as saying: “This is the worst case of intronitis I’ve ever seen. You can even hear the theme music.”
Intronitis is the disease Ken suffers from. The video leads the viewer to understand that the disease causes the victim to experience a continual introduction sequence. It is also spreadable, most likely as an airborne contagion. The doctors say, “we don’t know how strong this strain is,” leading the user to assume this version is worse than others, which is likely because Ken is the very first person shown in the introduction. Could it be that the sickness that Ken suffers from manifests itself in the sickness of murder?
Finally, when Ken sits down during the final family photo, his face morphs into the face of Bill. With so much evidence throughout the entirety of the piece, we find it difficult to not recognize Ken as the killer. However, we may have missed some things, after all, “Too Many Cooks” is jam-packed. If our fan theory seems spot-on, totally faulty, or something else entirely, feel free to leave a comment below and good luck not singing too many cooks for the next week of your life.
By Garrett Jutte in collaboration with Ben Yisrael
Youtube – Too Many Cooks (Warning Graphic Content)
Vulture Too Many Cooks Lyrics
PBS Ideas Channel – Too Many Cooks