DID YOU READ

MTV Brings Back the Music Video…Again

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This Friday night MTV will premiere FNMTV, a one-hour block of uninterrupted music videos hosted by Pete Wentz and MTV News’ Tim Kash and James Montgomery. All of the feel-good phrases have been used to hype up the show’s premiere: “Trying to save the music video,” “Once upon a time music videos meant something,” and “Videos shown in their entirety.”

I’m all for it–let’s bring back the music video!

(above: Pete, I served with John Sencio, I knew John Sencio; John Sencio was a friend of mine. Pete, you’re no John Sencio.)

Before I get too excited, I’ve got to remember that I’ve heard all of this before. Back in 1996, MTV tried to “save the music video” by creating a network that showed nothing but music videos “in their entirety,” when they created M2 (later changed to MTV2 because another company shared the same name). Fortunately, I was able to work for MTV2 before it became littered with MTV reality re-runs.

Some would assume I have a bitter ax to grind with MTV Networks, since I went from hosting one of the greatest indie-minded video shows of all-time to pawning soft drinks and handheld video games in the orgy of a beast known as integrated marketing (ew). But, I would love nothing more than to see MTV succeed in their current endeavor. Before IFC’s webmaster deletes this post, let me explain. If the music video does makes a comeback (in the televised format), everyone wins. Damn, I’ll be the first in line to host IFC’s answer to 120 Minutes. More attention on music videos will mean more money for music videos, which means less of my favorite bands will have to rely on their art school buddies’ lo-fi, cut-and-paste animated videos.

It’s very easy to laugh off MTV’s latest attempt to pull off a successful video show, since they’ve done such a wonderful job of destroying the medium they single-handedly created. Yes, the internet helped kill the video star, but we all knew music videos would plateau at some point, right? I think MTV executives realized this when they began airing the game show Remote Control in the late 80’s. Even though MTV soon became littered with reality shows and pre-packaged-pop videos, there was always still some quality music content on the channel. Even some of the most die-hard indie kids, who vehemently despised the channel, would tune in occasionally. That would all change when MTV basically abandoned music a few years. Yes, they aired videos in the wee hours of the morning, but why stay up all night when you could just catch the one or two videos you wanted to see with one click of the mouse on your computer? Instead of giving us something the internet didn’t have, MTV cluttered their TV airwaves with pre-scripted teen reality shows and sent its music-hungry viewers to their website which wasn’t nearly as easy to navigate as YouTube.

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I don’t even know where I’m going with this (gotta love the beauty of a blog–no need to wrap things up nicely).

MTV sort of reminds me of when I used to work at McDonald’s. Every couple of years they’d change the way we made burgers, claiming, “Ah, this is so much better than the way we used to do it.” After a few years, we’d end up making burgers the same way we did when I first started (and it’s not like making a cheeseburger is a complicated thing to do).

If the music video does make a comeback, I’m almost too frightened to see how the McDonald’s-like corporate structure of MTV, advertisers, and back-scratch-requesting record labels will do to ruin it…again.

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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…

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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. 

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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-Craft

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?”

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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).

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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.

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

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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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.

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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.

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Forget Public Wifi

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

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Inter-not

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.

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Self Defense

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

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