G.I. Joe PSA spoofs
The company gained a reputation in 2003 for a series of short films which parodied the public service announcement (PSA) safety messages used at the end of every episode of the 1980s animated series G.I. Joe, based on Hasbro's toy line. Fensler, a fan of the series, had recalled the PSAs after rewatching G.I. Joe: The Movie which had included the PSAs as bonus features on its DVD, and played around with the footage. While Fensler did the video editing, he had friends supply the new voice-over lines. Fensler's friend Doug Lussenhop helped Fensler to prepare the parody PSAs for screening at the Heaven Gallery in Chicago, after which gallery visitors got VHS copies of the PSAs, while the gallery uploaded them to their website. The traffic from the popularity of the videos crashed the gallery's server, and eventually two other websites, eBaum's World and Heavy.com, provided copies of the videos. By 2004, the videos had been considered viral hits, and Hasbro had sent Fensler a cease and desist order. One of the more recognized of the parody PSAs involved Blowtorch arriving to help stop a kitchen fire started by two boys, randomly shouting "Porkchop sandwiches!" on his appearance. The catchphrase became part of unofficial merchandise based on the parody PSAs.
In 2004, Lussenhop successfully applied to write for Tom Goes to the Mayor, created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, and became one of their close collaborators. When Heidecker and Wareheim were preparing their next show, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Lussenhop convinced them to bring on Fensler. Fensler stayed on for the show's five seasons, and continued to collaborate on the team's ongoing smaller projects. In addition, Fensler contributed music videos for the songs "Don't Mess With Illinois", "Hand Over Fist" and "Special Effect" by his fellow Chicagoans, electronic music group TRS-80. He also produced a music video for Daniel Johnston's song "The Monster Inside of Me", using footage from the Captain America animated series from the 1960s.
In popular culture
- In the movie tie-in video game, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the developers Double Helix Games had planned to include the line "Porkchop Sandwiches" from one of Fensler's films as an exclamation, and had every voice actor record that line for its use. However, Hasbro rejected its use, citing the need to avoid damaging pending lawsuits.
- The second season episode "Hate Floats" of the animated series The Venture Bros features the character Henchman 21 wearing a "porkchop sandwiches" shirt while out of uniform.
- Weezer's "Pork and Beans" music video, which features stars of internet viral videos, contains a scene in which young animated versions of the band are seen listening to G.I. Joe member Gung-Ho.
- In the IDW G.I. Joe comic book series, Storm Shadow indicates that he wants to leave early, as he's in the mood for porkchop sandwiches.
- In Duke Nukem Forever, after killing pig cops, occasionally Duke will say "Porkchop Sandwiches!". He will also utter the phrase "Body Massage!" after grabbing a vibrator in the Titty City level.
- "Fenslerfilm". Fenslerfilm. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
- Baldwin, Rosecrans (May 7, 2008). "The Digital Ramble: Military Investigation". The New York Times.
- Anderson, Lessley (May 9, 2013). "Body Message: GI Joe and the invention of the viral video". The Verge. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
- DeMartino, Joe (June 13, 2011). "Eric Fensler: An interview with the creator of the GI Joe PSA parodies". WFMU.
- "TRS-80 at Frenetic Fringe Festival Sunday". 29-95.com. August 21, 2009. Archived from the original on 2011-04-07.
- ""Porkchop Sandwiches" Cut from G.I. Joe Game". Gamer Vision. 2009-07-10. Archived from the original on July 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-25.