As the “Welcome to Westport” video continues to rocket around cyberspace — and rack up comments — a bit of background adds some intriguing context.
The film was a group project on “satire” for an Advanced Placement English Language class. While I credited Nick Ribolla for it alone, he wrote and directed it with Jimmy Ray Stagg and Harrison Knapp. It was filmed all in 1 day.
But wait! There’s more!
Part of the inspiration came from a 1985 video called “Westport’s Got It All.” Produced by MCA as a gift for the town’s 150th anniversary, it was a very upbeat ode to the town.
Nick, Jimmy Ray and Harrison subtly satirized the cheesy music, and the opening scene of a man with a newspaper on the banks of the Saugatuck — though I’m sure the Staples juniors have no idea that guy was famed “ABC Wide World of Sports” anchor and Westport resident Jim McKay.
Nick Ribolla (right) channels Jim McKay.
The final line — “Westport’s got it all!” — is a direct ripoff of the 30-year-old video. That’s the mark of great satire: It works for everyone, but it’s especially sweet for those who are in on a deeper joke.
Back in 1985, here’s what Westporters were saying about their town:
“I’m worried the town is losing its mix of a variety of people.”
“Westporters have extraordinary aspirations for their children. And they’re willing to pay for it.”
“Westport has the sophistication of New York, the exuberance of a California town, the quaintness of New England — and a sense of humor.”
“We do have latchkey children, as more and more parents go off to work.”
“The Post Road is a disaster. But every town has its Post Road. This one looks better than many.”
“Commercialization has really changed this town. It’s been good and bad.”
So check out “Westport’s Got It All”:
Then look (again) at “Welcome to Westport” (click here if your browser does not take you directly to YouTube.)
Now tell me Nick, Jimmy Ray and Harrison don’t deserve an A+ for satire.
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