I Am Oscar’s Broken Heart

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Finally! We’ve managed to come up with an awards show that pleases no one. Nominally “The Indie Oscars,” what the 78th Annual Academy Awards should go down in history as are “The Glum Oscars.” Host Jon Stewart looked miserable spouting Bruce Vilanch-isms studded with the occasional toothless political reference meant to remind us of how edgy a choice he was. The tastefully appointed crowd (the sartorial theme of the night seemed to be the blonde in beige dress, a style choice that made Reese Witherspoon look lovely, Nicole Kidman like a vanilla popsicle, and Uma Thurman like she had a terminal disease) seemed bored; the winners, ever dry-eyed, sped through restrained speeches, thanking their moms and their agents, with not a flicker of spontaneity (or personality) to be found.

The only ones who genuinely excited to win an award were “Hustle & Flow” songwriters Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard, aka Three 6 Mafia, who accepted the Original Song Oscar with such glee that Jon Stewart kept coming back to them as the night went on &#151 possibly because he seemed stunned by their unquestionably energetic performance, only somewhat obscured by the dancers dressed as hookers prancing in the foreground (say what you will — it was still infinitely better than the burning car and interpretative racism dancers of doom peopling the set of Kathleen York’s performance of “In the Deep” from “Crash”). Or perhaps he just couldn’t get over the fact that they were the only ones who hadn’t gotten the memo about Serious and Relevant this iteration of the Academy Awards were, a point hammered in by the many self-celebratory montages: the biopic montage, the film noir montage (introduced by a very shaky Lauren Bacall), the films of social import montage (which kicked off with a tragic editing leap from “All the President’s Men” to “The Day After Tomorrow”), the “movies should be seen on the big screen” montage — all reeked of desperation, of trying to reinforce old dominance to an audience who wandered off to watch TiVoed episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy”

Best speech: Three 6 Mafia, along with George Clooney’s funny, leisurely acceptance for supporting actor — is it any wonder the camera kept cutting back to him for reaction shots later? Beyond being the only actor with a sheen of the old-school glamour this year’s awards so anxiously tried to recall, he was also one of the few who seemed comfortable expressing emotions without a publicist’s approval.

Flicker of life: The Stephen Colbert-narrated fake campaign ads were by far the funniest moments of the entire ceremony, not counting the “Crash” dancers. And all was forgiven for Jon Stewart when, after the “social import” montage, he intoned: “And none of those issues was ever a problem again.”

Ideas that fell flat: The “gay cowboy” montage and the Lily Tomlin-Meryl Streep Altmanesque intro both dragged on past their prime.

Self-congratulatory quotes of death: Reese Witherspoon’s June Carter Cash “I’m just trying to matter” and Paul Haggis’ “Art is not a mirror. Art is a hammer.” Shut up, Reese Witherspoon. Shut up, Paul Haggis.

Signs of the times: “Paradise Now” is announced as a film from the “Palestinian Territories” — not that it was going to win or anything anyway. And “Crash”‘s win for Best Picture wasn’t surprising as much as disappointing — but the cameras actually cut away before producer Cathy Schulman was done having her say. Not even the Best Picture winners merit a few more seconds of TV time in this extra-brisk era — harsh.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.