David Lynch Posts His Nightmarish Sitcom Rabbits Online–the Show That Psychologists Use to Induce a Sense of Existential Crisis in Research Subjects

If recent world events feel to you like an existential crisis, you may find yourself browsing Youtube for calming viewing material. But there’s also something to be said for fighting fire with fire, so why not plunge straight into the dread and panic with David Lynch’s sitcom Rabbits? Set “in a nameless city deluged by a continuous rain” where a family of three humanoid rabbits live “with a fearful mystery,” the eight-episode web series has, as we’ve previously mentioned here on Open Culturebeen used by University of British Columbia psychologists to induce a sense of existential crisis in research subjects. Having originally shot it on a set in his backyard in 2002 (and incorporated pieces of it into his 2006 feature Inland Empire), Lynch has just begun making Rabbits available again on Youtube.

The first episode of Rabbits went up yesterday on David Lynch Theater, the official Youtube channel of the man who directed EraserheadBlue VelvetMulholland Drive, and other such pieces of Lynchian cinema. Though he hasn’t made a feature film in quite some time, he’s kept busy, as his frequent uploads have documented: take his 2015 animated short Fire (Pozar), which we featured last month, or his daily Los Angeles weather reports.

More recently, Lynch has been posting short videos called “What Is David Working on Today?” These offer just what their title promises: a look at such art projects as and craft projects as “a drain spout for the bottom of my wooden sink,” the “swing-out urinal” installed, and most recently “the incredible checking stick.”

This might at first sound dispiritingly normal — at least until you get to how the checking stick is supposed to work — but those who have long enjoyed Lynch’s films know that normality is what gives them power. David Foster Wallace described the “Lynchian” as “a particular kind of irony where the very macabre and the very mundane combine in such a way as to reveal the former’s perpetual containment within the latter.” There is, of course, nothing macabre (and often nothing mundane) about the wooden objects Lynch builds and repairs in his workshop these days. But Rabbits, too, was also one of his homemade projects, and its “story of modern life,” as Lynch called it on Twitter, still makes for a harrowingly mundane viewing experience.

Related Content:

David Lynch Made a Disturbing Web Sitcom Called “Rabbits”: It’s Now Used by Psychologists to Induce a Sense of Existential Crisis in Research Subjects

David Lynch Creates Daily Weather Reports for Los Angeles: How the Filmmaker Passes Time in Quarantine

David Lynch Releases an Animated Film Online: Watch Fire (Pozar)

What Makes a David Lynch Film Lynchian: A Video Essay

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

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