This is a fine example of what The Onion does best. The premise is simple and potentially very unfunny: historical re-enactors at a carefully reconstructed “video store” of the future. But the writing and the delivery is just perfect.
I grew up in a town with a carefully re-created historical village (Old Salem), and Massachusetts, where I live now, is positively lousy with them (Plimoth Plantation, Old Sturbridge Village, and so on). I can never make up my mind if these things are living treasures or pretentious exemplars of a past that never existed, much in the same way that Monsanto’s House of the Future never will exist. I can just picture old Ben Franklin laughing himself silly, his face wet with tears, as he takes a tour of modern day Colonial Williamsburg.
Watching a bad re-enactor perform is painful in the extreme, but even the good ones make me want to knock them off balance with impossibly hard questions. Who is the Crown Governor of the Virginia Colony? How much did you pay for that pewter salt cellar? Who are you kidding with that ridiculous accent? And if I ever visited the Historical Blockbuster Shoppe, I would ask to rent videos that wouldn’t have been released yet. That would show them! Ha ha!
(Thanks for the Onion link Matthew!)