Dynamic duo is a format in brickfilming that was commonly used throughout most of the 2000s. It is a genre heavily focused on dialogue between two main characters who are friends despite having clashing personalities, and often find themselves caught up in unusual scenarios. It usually features one character who is a tad dumb and another who is more sensible, but irritable. Its shares many similarities with the buddy film genre in film, though it has nuances that make it unique.
Origin and first wave Edit
Though there are some earlier examples of recurring duos in brickfilming such as Biff and Mario and Rick and Steve, the series that laid the foundation for the dynamic duo as a genre was Steve and Dave by Nate Burr. In February 2002, Burr released Mystery of the Ewok, introducing the characters Steve and Dave as they have an argument about Star Wars. It was noted for being heavily dialogue-based, at a time when this was much less common in brickfilming. In April, Burr released Mystery of the BoB which developed the dynamic between the characters, with Steve being wry and irritable and Dave being dim-witted. It also introduced the recurring character BoB, who would be influential on a trope in dynamic duo series' for there to be a much weirder third character. Initially, Steve and Dave films were set outdoors, until Christmas with Bluntmation gave them a house and a couch to sit on, which featured in multiple future films and would become the standard type of setting for future duos.
In December 2002, Chris Salt released Mike and Geoff in A Christmas Message, directly inspired by and making reference to the Steve and Dave films. This was followed in January 2003 by Out of Time, which retained the influence but forged its own identity, and became a very influential duo film in its own right. Initially, the most popular name for films such as these was simply "two guys" films. In 2003, there were a handful of other series' starring two guys such as Bob and Joe by Tom Dean, Michael and Cool Guy by Skye "Legotronn" Tronn, and Bob and Rob by Logan Wright, but these were mostly not particularly reminiscent of the dynamic duo style started by Steve and Dave.
In 2004, three major series' in a similar mold to Steve and Dave and Mike and Geoff began: Matt and Cal by Matthew Lieberman and Cody Lieberman, Kevin and Mr. Tater by James Morr, and Ralph and Rupert by Dave Wardell. These series' each had multiple releases in 2004 which, along with the continuing Steve and Dave series, gave the duo format increased visibility in this year.
Second wave Edit
"[...] my "two guys talking and weird stuff happens" style of film making has become somewhat of a genre all of it's own around here [...]"
- Nate Burr, June 2005
In 2005 and 2006, many more dynamic duos were created, inspired by what was now becoming a trend in brickfilming. The most prominent, influential and long-lived series' to come out of this era are Ben and Andy by Zach Macias and Alex and Derrick by Nathan Wells. Other duo series' and films originating in this era are Ray and Todd by Roland Szentesi, Jeff and Joe by Chris "CJ Studios" J., Chris and Clive by Daniel Holmes, Josh and Phil by Graeme Allen, Da Europeans by Roland Szentesi and Bert Loos, Jim and Bob by Rich Petty, Jimmy and Gary by Jonny "LegobrosJon" Marrero, Dylan and Phil by Johnny "Kruelwanderer" Moa, Larry and Jasper by Nathaniel Hendricks, and Rick & Tom by KrickFilms.
By this point, the "two guys" format was starting to become derided as unoriginal, overused, and often boring. The phrase "dynamic duo" itself began to see use in late 2006.
""Two Guys" films are unoriginal and waaay too ubiquitous these days."
- Tim Hui, December 2005
Third wave Edit
"It's like the attack of Steve and Dave clones (or maybe these are actually Steve and Dave clone clones?)"In 2006 and 2007, many of the dynamic duo films that had been building up over the years were uploaded to YouTube. Certain series' such as Steve and Dave, Ben and Andy, and Alex and Derrick became very popular brickfilms on YouTube in the early years of the site. Nate Burr, who was one of the top 50 most subscribed to YouTubers at this point, started a new duo series, MeatSpace. This all led to the duo format being more widely visible than ever, which resulted in its total saturation. Many of the young brickfilmers who started in or around 2007 saw creating your own duo simply as the done thing, creating their own without much thought, and their earliest animations would often be stand-alone trailers or intros for a dynamic duo series (many with no actual films following). From 2007 to about 2009, there were countless short-lived duo series' and stand-alone films rooted in the duo format. Dynamic duos were at their most maligned during this era, but the rare ones that stood out in some way could still be received positively.
- Logan Wright, February 2008
"[...] the slew of dynamic duos nowadays are really diluting the genre."
- Nathan Wells, August 2007
"And please, no dynamic duo. Do yourself a favor and make a real film."
- Randy "Noodle" Yard, February 2009
The duos started in this era that would go on to have any longevity or acclaim were ones that experimented with the formula in some way, whether intentionally or not. Benny n' Lee by Seán Willis and Brian Willis became known for more bizarre humor; Jake And The Lazy Guy by Stijn Heirstrate was more crass; the stand-alone film Moronic by Dustin Finstrom subverted the dynamic by having both characters be stupid; Sam and Stinky by Harry Bossert intentionally set out to poke fun at dynamic duo films and one of the main characters was a cat; Jeffery and the Old Man by Jonni Phillips starred an eccentric inventor; tim & fRED by Sean Willets initially started as one-joke shorts, and later added more action and dark humor.
During this era, there were also notable duo series' that weren't rooted in the "two guys in a house" traditions, likely weren't closely inspired by prior duos, and would not fit neatly in the same genre categorization. LEGO Batman by Forrest Whaley had a character dynamic between Batman and Robin that inspired many of its own copycats. Henri & Edmond by Maxime Marion were major films with multiple scenarios and complete stories rather than just sketches or conversations.
Later years Edit
Following saturation and much derision, the popularity of the dynamic duo format declined in the 2010s. The use of it dwindled down to mostly just the continuation of series' that had become established during the third wave such as Benny n' Lee, Jeffery and the Old Man, and tim & fRED, and later resurgences of MeatSpace, Kevin and Mr. Tater, Alex and Derrick, Ben and Andy, and Jim and Bob. Occasionally, a series or film with a new dynamic duo will be made, and these are regarded as throwbacks to a bygone era. One notable duo series from the 2010s, Tim and Ralph by Michael Hickox, is not rooted within the genre as it is not dialogue-based and character dynamic-driven.
- ↑ Mystery of the Ewok release thread archive
- ↑ Christmas with Bluntmation release thread archive
- ↑ Copyright Craze release thread
- ↑ Behind The Scenes With Benny And Lee on YouTube
- ↑ "Seires Intro2" on YouTube
- ↑ "New seires teaser" on YouTube
- ↑ Logan and Paul Intro on YouTube
- ↑ YouTube channel archive showing Steve and Kevin, Daragh and Brian, and Keith and Carl