Nick Offerman sat in front of a fire for 45 minutes without speaking, and I’m not sure why, but also I don’t want to know why, because I’d like to approach this from what we scholars call a “place of purity.”
Now then. I’ve watched the entire video 12 times, and I think I’m ready to analyze it minute-by-minute. Please follow along with the video above.
0:15: We start with the yule log. This is what’s known as a classic red herring. You think the entire video will be about the yule log, but just wait.
0:36: Slowly we have zoomed out to see that this production isn’t just about the yule log, but also about Nick Offerman, his clothing, his glass of whiskey, a bottle of whiskey, some books, cabinets, and a chair. The red herring has done its job. (Note: Usually, red herrings take longer than 15 seconds to reveal themselves.)
0:44: Nick Offerman is sort of smiling. This is called breaking the fourth wall. The fourth wall is an imaginary wall between a performer and his audience. The other three walls are the one behind him, the one to his left, and the one to his right, but those are actual walls. Nobody knows which wall is which—is the back wall the first wall, or do you go left to right starting with the first wall? Confusing the issue further, the walls behind Nick Offerman seem to come together in a V-shape behind him, which means there are only two physical walls and the metaphorical wall he’s breaking is actually the third wall. I know what you’re thinking: If he looked up at a camera placed above him, would he be breaking the second ceiling? No, he’d be breaking the first ceiling. In this case, there’s only one ceiling, and it’s both physical and metaphorical. However, this is not the case with “glass ceilings,” which are purely metaphorical. There has never been an instance of an actual glass ceiling on planet Earth.
0:56: Nick Offerman is wearing a flannel shirt beneath a single-breasted tan jacket, with jeans and brown boots. He has a salt-and-pepper beard, and a watch on his left wrist. This is famously known as the “Thoreau look,” named after Henry David Thoreau, a crazy person from New England who spent years of his life a full mile away from civilization. This is the exact outfit Thoreau would wear, except that he had a novelty hat with a fake parrot attached at the top. He called it his “weathervane,” and he named it Gonzalo.
3:08: Nick Offerman looks at the whiskey.
3:09: Nick Offerman raises the glass.
3:15: Nick Offerman decides to sip the whiskey.
3:25: Nick Offerman replaces the glass.
3:27: Nick Offerman’s facial expression seems to indicate that he liked the whiskey.
3:29: He needed 47 takes to nail this sequence.
5:45: Up until this point, Offerman has kept the palm of his hand on the top of the whiskey glass, with the fingers draped over the front. In the old west, this was a silent signal meant to convey that nobody was allowed to drink the owner’s whiskey. If somebody tried, even though the hand was covering the whiskey, he was liable to get shot and killed. And it was legal.
5:50: Now, Offerman’s hand is on the side of the glass, and the top is uncovered. In the old saloons, this signified that it was okay for other men to try to drink from the whiskey, as long as they could do it from a distance with a long straw.
10:28: Offerman takes his second drink of whiskey. According to my sources, he nailed this one on the first take.
15:27: Werner Herzog was the director of this video, and a little known fact is that he aimed a loaded gun at Offerman from behind the camera for the entire 45 minutes to create a heightened sense of danger. So when you feel that heightened sense of danger emanating from Offerman, realize it’s because Werner Herzog is pointing a loaded gun at him from behind the camera.
21:01: Offerman crosses his left leg over his right leg and lets out a groan of satisfaction. Contrary to popular belief, Offerman does not perform his own stunts. This leg-crossing was completed by stunt double Ian Ziering.
28:24: You can hear a loud bang off screen. This is a gun shot. Werner Herzog, feeling the tension had slipped, shot Ian Ziering in order to put a scare into Offerman.
30:30: Offerman takes another sip of whiskey. This is bad acting. He’s over-doing it. He’s no longer believable. An ordinary man would die from consuming that much whiskey, and it’s asking too much for us to suspend our disbelief.
32:28: In a dramatic move, Offerman cocks his head from the left side of his body to the right. He learned this physical trick from years of watching the behavior of dogs as a child. He was known around his neighborhood as “the dog-watcher,” for the way he watched dogs. “All day,” the neighbor people said, “that boy watches dogs.” “We should call him the dog-watcher,” said another neighbor. “We already do,” said the people, and that was that.
35:15: When the dogs finally overran the neighborhood, Offerman was the only one they let live.
36:40: Offerman uncrosses his legs, which can only mean one thing: Time for sex.
44:30: Offerman finishes the whiskey. You have to turn your speakers way up, but just before he downs the last of the alcohol, he says, “damn you, Herzog, if you’re going to shoot me, then shoot. I won’t be a prisoner in my own home.” This represents him taking control of his own fate.
44:55: Herzog calls “cut.” He knows he’s made the perfect film. Offerman walks off camera and immediately breaks down into tears. Herzog, too, is crying. They have suffered together, for art, and now they are brothers forever. In the corner, Ian Ziering moans and says, “will someone bring me to the hospital,” and that breaks the tension. Everyone laughs like crazy.