396: The Ring
Title text: On the other hand, poor Samara -- transcoded to FLV. No one deserves that.
The Ring is a horror movie released in 2002 based off the Japanese movie Ringu. In it, there is a video tape that, whoever watches it, dies after seven days. However, the viewer can prevent their death by making a copy of the tape and giving it to someone else.
In the comic, Cueball watches the tape and prevents his own death by "copying" the tape and uploading it to a video-sharing website, presumably YouTube. Cueball not only got one person to watch it, the requirement for escaping death, but 363,104 people; all of whom are most likely going to die in seven days.
Rickrolling is an Internet meme where someone is lured into clicking on a video link of Rick Astley singing "Never Gonna Give You Up." When someone is Rickrolled, they usually get very upset. Cueball states in the comic that he uploaded the tape to get revenge on everyone who Rickrolled him, though it was obvious that he would likely kill many more people than those who Rickrolled him (or those who've Rickrolled anyone else).
The title text refers to the file format used by the YouTube player. Historically, YouTube was famous for having extremely poor quality videos because their Internet connections were slower and server storage space was expensive. So, all videos were transcoded into a very low quality FLV (flash video) format.
A girl shown in the video tape (and who is a major part of The Ring series) is named Samara. Posting the tape on YouTube forced the video, and in turn Samara (who would emerge from the screen when the tape was shown), to become heavily compressed by the conversion to FLV. This, presumably, would reduce the quality of Samara's apparition. The title text implies that nobody deserves that (although Rickrolling is apparently punishable by death.)
- [Ponytail is speaking to young Cueball sitting in front of a TV with a black background and a white ring.]
- Ponytail: You watched the tape!?
- Cueball: Yeah, sorry.
- Ponytail: Now you'll die in seven days!
- Cueball: It's worse than that.
- [TV is cut from the frame.]
- Ponytail: ...You didn't.
- Cueball: Yup.
- [Both are now in front of a computer, Ponytail leaning in.]
- Ponytail: Great, It's got 363,104 views already.
- Cueball: They kept Rickrolling me! It was only fair.