396: The Ring

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The Ring
On the other hand, poor Samara -- transcoded to FLV. No one deserves that.
Title text: On the other hand, poor Samara -- transcoded to FLV. No one deserves that.


The Ring is a horror movie released in 2002 based off of the Japanese movie Ringu. In it, there is a video tape that causes everyone who watches it to die after seven days. However, the viewer can prevent their death by making a copy of the tape and giving it to someone else.

A young Cueball watches the tape and prevents his own death by "copying" the tape and uploading it to a video-sharing website, presumably YouTube. Cueball not only got one person to watch it, the requirement for escaping death, but 363,104 people, all of whom are most likely going to die in seven days. (For scale, the most-watched video at the time of the comic's publication had 78 million views.)

Rickrolling is an Internet meme where someone is lured into clicking on a video link of Rick Astley singing "Never Gonna Give You Up." When someone is rickrolled, they usually get very upset. Cueball states in the comic that he uploaded the tape to get revenge on everyone who rickrolled him, though it was obvious that he would likely kill many more people than those who rickrolled him (or those who've rickrolled anyone else) and that .

The title text refers to the file format used by the YouTube player. Historically, YouTube was famous for having extremely poor quality videos, because their Internet connections were slower and server storage space was expensive. So, all videos were transcoded into a very low quality FLV (flash video) format.

The girl shown in the video tape — a major part of The Ring series — is named Samara. Posting the tape on YouTube would result in heavily compressed videos in the FLV format. This, presumably, would reduce the quality of Samara's apparition. The title text also implies that nobody deserves that, although rickrolling is (according to young Cueball) apparently punishable by death.


[Ponytail is speaking to young Cueball sitting in front of a TV with a black background and a white ring.]
Ponytail: You watched the tape!?
Cueball: Yeah, sorry.
Ponytail: Now you'll die in seven days!
Cueball: It's worse than that.
[TV is cut from the frame.]
Ponytail: ...You didn't.
Cueball: Yup.
[Both are now in front of a computer, Ponytail leaning in.]
Ponytail: Great, it's got 363,104 views already.
Cueball: They kept Rickrolling me!
Cueball: It was only fair.

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Ironic, when Youtube is one of the prime targets for death-threat chain letters. Davidy22 (talk) 03:32, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

How does the comic imply that he is not safe? The mom just seems mad because 360,000 people are going to die. Athang (talk) 03:10, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

In the books, copying didn't really make you safe. Granted, this comic is about the movie based off of the movie based off of the books, so the comparison is pretty limited. 18:57, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

The boy is not Cueball but a child. He did watch the tape on a TV, presumably at a much better resolution as his YouTube upload is.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:41, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

The transcript calls him "young cueball" 01:37, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
The official transcript calls them just 'boy' and 'girl'. 'Young Cueball' isn't a thing. 21:44, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Where is the official transcript - is this something Randall post somewhere? The transcript on this page uses the names given to the characters on this page. Cueball only exist as a name outside the XKCD comic. It is not something Randall subscribes to. But here any non descript character is called Cueball. But is is true that this is a child version of Cueball and I have corrected the explain so it says this. The transcript is fine as it is. --Kynde (talk) 05:26, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
The official transcript is from the JSON, you can see it by adding info.0.json to the end: [1] Pipipipipiale (talk) 23:11, 13 November 2023 (UTC)

Randall loses points for calling her "Samara" and not Sadako. the "remakes" do not exist. that is a fact. 09:50, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Maybe but as the comic is about the Ring Sadako is not in the movie Cueball watches :-) Kynde (talk) 05:26, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Is it likely that Ponytail and Young Cueball are Rachel and Aiden from the movie? The first panel (apart from the nonchalance of the child) seems somewhat similar to the scene in the movie where Rachel discovers that Aiden has watched the tape. --Hatkirby (talk) 04:09, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

Sharing doesn't reduce the number of casualties. It only transfers the death sentence to another person. 08:15, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

Actually, this happened, in the crossover film between the Japanese series of this movie (Ringu) and Ju-On (Japanese version of the Grudge), named 'Sadako v. Kayako'. Right before she dies, one of the main characters uploads a version of the tape to a file-sharing site, allowing it to distribute through the internet and pick up 6,000 views in a few hours. 02:51, 28 June 2017 (UTC)

At the end of the second US sequel 'Rings', Samara does it herself. 23:14, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

You know, if you were in the "the ring" universe and you had a time machine, you could copy it and give it to your future self, and when your past self gives it to you, destroy it. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Please sign your comments. and also... can you explain what you are talking about? it seems to be a little... out of context. --Lupo (talk) 06:35, 8 October 2019 (UTC)