“I Apologize for My Sandwich Breath Here”

Originally made for educational use, now repurposed for relaxation, there’s something about this clip that combines a ripe mix of 90’s nostalgia, ASMR trigger, and a sense of misdirection from expecting a Tim-and-Eric-inspired-comedic-twist but getting an earnest take on cranial nerve exams.

It has over 2 million views and most of these are people seeking the same ASMR head pleasure that made me rewatch this clip about eight times before drifting off to sleep last night.

But when I look a little closer, I find I have an unsettling question…

Are these people, or are they hyperrealistic robots? Maybe a pair of motorized mannequins pretending to be mates?

This whole shot is pleasantly uncanny for me.

The only audio is the familiar ambient hum of a doctor’s office. Because of the closeness, the touching, and the carefulness of the movements, the moment is oddly intimate, the kind patently associated with a doctor’s visit.

And what does the color palette of the shot remind you of?

Skin tones. It’s very human. Yet they could easily be shades of lipstick or foundation makeup or the fake skin of a highly sophisticated robot. The fact that this whole exam, a normally private appointment, is being recorded and publicized gives it a bit of a manufactured feel.

The robotic, square-jawed gaze of the patient, former hockey player Pat LaFontaine, makes it seem like the doctor could just as easily be performing that eye exam on a blinking medical-test-dummy. Another manufactured element, literally, is the doctor’s light instrument (ophthalmoscope?), giving him an unfair augmentation to examine his patient’s left eye ball.

All of these elements combine to make it hard to separate the human and inhuman parts of the video. The dead giveaway, in my humble opinion, is the sandwich line. I do believe humanoid imposters would be capable of imitating the digestive habits of people, but I don’t believe they’d be capable of apologizing for it.

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