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DID YOU READ

LOOKBACK AT A SOUNDTRACK: Office Space

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In the pantheon of film soundtracks, Office Space will not be mentioned among the greats, but discovering it while thumbing through someone’s CD collection–or I guess I should say, when browsing someone’s MP3 files on their desktop–will create a small chuckle and a nod of approval from a handful of people.

It is well known that Mike Judge (writer/director) put up an almost daily fight with 20th Century Fox to create Office Space in his own vision. Fox not only battled him on plotlines, but even down to the last details of the film including the trailer, movie poster, tag line, and soundtrack. Judge only won the fight on the latter.

In fairness to Fox, a shirt-and-tie, office comedy doesn’t seem fit for a gangsta rap soundtrack, but for anyone who has seen the film, you know that it works perfectly. And let’s face it, gangsta rap music sold boatloads in the ’90s, because a whole bunch of white people–just like the ones in Office Space–were buying it.

From its trailer alone, you’d never know that Office Space was a cleverly crafted dark-comedy. You’d also think the soundtrack would be littered with late ’90s MTV staples, like the song actually used in the trailer, Fat Boy Slim’s, “Rockafeller Skank“. After watching Office Space though–as many did when it hit video stores–you quickly realized that it wasn’t a teen-based comedy fueled by cheap sex jokes and a soundtrack featuring songs from Blink 182, Mandy Moore, BBMak, or the trendy-at-the-time, Fat Boy Slim tune mentioned above. Instead, the film primarily featured music from Ice Cube and The Geto Boys.

Office Space features 12 songs on its soundtrack and the ones that shine brightest are the gangsta rap numbers (which Fox finally approved for the soundtrack after a positive focus group survey). Scarface’s “No Tears” was brilliantly used during the film’s opening credits when Michael Bolton (David Herman) makes his morning commute to work. Rhyming line for line he embraces his inner thug until a dark-skinned man selling flowers on the side of the road approaches his vehicle. He breaks from his in-car karaoke to lock his driver’s side door. Hilarious–and what a commentary on the people who listen to gangsta rap music.

Ice Cube’s “Down For Whatever” is used as a Mission Impossible-like theme when Michael, Peter (Ron Livingston), and Samir (Ajay Naidu) exchange the virus-filled computer disc that’s going to drain money from their company’s corporate account.

Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta” is the song for Peter’s victory montage, after approval is heaped on him from a duo of consultants hired by Initech.

The soundtrack’s crowning achievement though is unarguably The Geto Boys’ “Still.” Anytime I hear this song, I think of Michel, Peter, and Samir taking a baseball bat (and open fists) to a fax machine. Not only have I worked at places before where I dreamt of doing this very thing, but once again, Judge makes another great commentary on gangsta rap music. Just cause office workers from middle America wouldn’t step foot in the hood, doesn’t mean they’re not empowered by the music. Smashing a fax machine to pieces may feel just as good–hollaas puttin’ a hole in someone’s head, the size of a half-a-dolla.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to this soundtrack for introducing me to the sounds of Perez Prado, the Cuban bandleader who is known as “King of the Mambo.” I have since dipped into his back catalog and become a big fan.

The rest of the songs on the Office Space soundtrack aren’t as memorable as the ones listed above. Unless you’re obsessed with the film you might be hard pressed to match a song with its respective scene. Kool Keith’s “Get Off My Elevator” is an excellent choice for the album, but do you know where the song appears in the movie?

Answer: It’s playing on the car’s stereo while Peter and Joanna (Jennifer Aniston) argue about her “fucking Lumbergh”–yes, I guess I’m obsessed too.

After Office Space gained cult status, Mike Judge just might have closed the door to his office, propped his feet on the desk, and blasted Peter’s victory song. Not only did his gansta-rap-meets-mambo soundtrack work, but his film based on the trails and tribulations of office life spawned a couple of well-known comedy series and a whole new genre of television commercial humor. Damn it feels good to be a gangsta!

Last month, many of the cast members of Office Space met in Austin, TX (where the film was shot) to celebrate its 10-year Anniversary.

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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.