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David Foster Wallace, 1962-2008.

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09152008_davidfosterwallace.jpgI read “Infinite Jest” in college. A friend passed it along, told me it was something she knew I’d like. Hefting the 1000-plus pages, I thought that I was duty bound, therefore, to hate it, and started reading right away to prove so — such is the unfortunate person I was. And still am. I ended up finishing the book in three days, at the expense of class, sleep and any social interaction, devouring it in great gulps of prose, propping it open on the kitchen counter as I poked at some occasional ramen on the stove and unsteadily suspending it, wrist trembling, in front of my face in one hand while I brushed my teeth with the other in the morning or at night. I didn’t like it — I grudgingly but thoroughly adored it, that brash, annoying, unbelievably smart and hubristically ambitious doorstop of a novel, and worked my way from there through his essays, short story collections, earlier novel and whatever other drips and drabs made their way into glossies and weeklies and other -ies. And I find myself more upset about the passing of David Foster Wallace than of any other person I’d never met. Glenn Kenny, who had and who worked with Wallace on three pieces for Premiere, remembers and mourns at his blog, while Michiko Kakutani posts an appreciation at the New York Times:

[T]he reader could not help but feel that Mr. Wallace had inhaled the muchness of contemporary America — a place besieged by too much data, too many video images, too many high-decibel sales pitches and disingenuous political ads — and had so many contradictory thoughts about it that he could only expel them in fat, prolix narratives filled with Möbius strip-like digressions, copious footnotes and looping philosophical asides. If this led to self-indulgent books badly in need of editing — “Infinite Jest” clocked in at an unnecessarily long 1,079 pages — it also resulted in some wonderfully powerful writing.

Laura Miller at Salon wonders “What will we do without him?” And Sam Leith at the Telegraph reminisces that “I tried, a couple years ago, to get Zadie Smith to interview DFW and wasn’t able to make it happen. Zadie later told me she was scared of him.”

There’s a lot of DFW non-fiction floating around the web to be read:

On David Lynch during the production of “Lost Highway”: David Lynch Keeps His Head, Premiere
On locking oneself in one’s cabin for much of a luxury cruise: Shipping out, Harper’s (PDF)
On “the American idea”: Just Asking, The Atlantic
On John McCain in 2000: The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys And The Shrub, Rolling Stone
On, with splendid disregard to editorial appropriateness, the ethics of lobster eating: Consider the Lobster, Gourmet (PDF)
On 9/11: The View from Mrs. Thompson’s, Rolling Stone
On John Updike: Is This Finally the End for Magnificent Narcissists?, New York Observer

The only film adaptation of Wallace’s work is an upcoming film that marks the directorial debut of “The Office”‘s John Krasinski, an adaptation of “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” that still has no distributor or release date attached.

[Photo: David Foster Wallace, Marion Ettlinger]

+ Dave Wallace (Some Came Running)
+ Exuberant Riffs on a Land Run Amok (NY Times)
+ In memory of David Foster Wallace, 1962-2008 (Salon)
+ David Foster Wallace’s Defunct (Telegraph)


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.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

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:


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.


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!


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.


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.



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.”


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. 


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.