In August, the hellmouth opened in the U.S. to reveal the latest online sensation slash cryptid – the TV-Headed Man. Sporting a snazzy jumpsuit and a TV for a head (hence the name), this strange being spent the early hours of August 11 delivering vintage television boxes to the front porches of residents in Henrico Country, Virginia.
There were many questions following his arrival — what was this creepy, unfathomable entity? Where did he come from? Where did he go? And more importantly ?— why has he returned?
The TV-Headed Man blessed/cursed around 60 homes with the gift of vintage 1980s and 90s TVs, a feat that is speculated to have been carried out by multiple TV-Headed Men. Or perhaps just one very incredibly strong one.
But the weirdest part of this whole situation is that the TV-Headed Man may have struck once before, in August 2018; almost exactly a year before the most recent incident. On the morning of August 25, 2018, residents of Glen Allen, Virginia woke up to find more than 20 televisions on their porches and lawns, all of a vintage 1980s variety.
The situation was nearly identical to the recent TV-Headed Man sighting.
— WTVR CBS 6 Richmond (@CBS6) August 24, 2018
While there’s no mention of the TV-Headed Man in these reports, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t there. The only reason he was recently unveiled was because one Virginia resident’s spy cam caught him red-handed.
These two incidents appear to be the only times that the TV-Headed Man has been documented in the wild, but his place in pop culture is well established.
He’s featured prominently in Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ popular Saga comic. And his most common appearance has been as a symbol for the rise of entertainment media. In this context, the TV-Headed Man is seen as an extension of our increasing reliance on technology and the way that entertainment media can consume identity. The more that we consume this media, the more it becomes us — and behind the TV-shaped head, we can no longer perceive any real identity. Instead, the TV-Headed Man becomes a symbol of horror.
The TV-Headed Man is what we become when we allow ourselves to be consumed by the media machine. He signals the death of common sense, intelligence and individuality — a sad portent of our megacorp future.
His appearance is timely, and he serves as a reminder of the power of entertainment and how it can warp our minds. In an era where Disney has devoured the cultural zeitgeist and the CBS-Viacom empire is jostling for space with the scant few independent companies left, the TV-Headed Man is a metaphor for our increasingly homogenous media landscape.
By that logic, the vintage televisions he leaves on the doorsteps in Virginia represents the entertainment of medias past; a return to a time when television was simpler — or at least, appeared to be.
Of course, the TV-Headed Man’s manifestation is just as likely to be a well-timed prank pulled by a local, but choosing to believe he’s an emissary of the Television Gods who has been sent to warn us of our inevitably bland future is much more fun. I can’t stop thinking about him, and the strange gifts that he brings.
As a soothsayer of TV doom, perhaps only he can lead us away from our depressing entertainment future. Please save us, TV-Headed Man. You’re our only hope.