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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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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.