IT’S LIKE THAT: Here’s To “The Sag”

IT’S LIKE THAT:  Here’s To “The Sag” (photo)

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Just the other day while I was taking the subway downtown, I noticed a teenager wearing a pair of jeans (purposely) drooped down to his kneecaps. It caught my attention, because he was also wearing a long, baggy shirt, which made it look like he had a really loooonnnggg torso. Even if this kid pulled up his pants, I doubt his drawers could’ve reached his waist.

Was he wearing little kid pants?!

(left: The drawers and the people who sag them.)

Whatever fashion concoction he was working on, it was evident that the teen was inspired by “the sag”. If you’ve been living in a cave for the last 20 years, it’s the style in which one wears their pants just below the waist, while letting a glimpse of underwear peak out above their beltline (how big the glimpse is up to you).

I speak of “the sag” today, because when the kid with the long torso passed, it occurred to me that “the sag” has never fully gone out of style. It’s not as prevalent today–especially since it’s not as easy to sag skinny jeans–but it’s still around. Go to a place where the tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings gather, and you’ll see more waistbands than you will in a Fruit Of A Loom commercial.

My first exposure to “the sag” was in high school–late ’80’s/early ’90’s–right around the time the style reached its tipping point. Gangsta-rap-music-worshipping teens were the first to loosen their belt buckles. They were paying homage to their favorite rappers of the time, who in turn, were paying homage to their favorite comrades and/or homies doing time.

Do an internet search on “the sag”, and you’ll quickly discover the trend of perpetually pulling up your pants began in prison. Jailhouse uniforms aren’t as size specific as an outfit you’d try on at H&M, so you could imagine why prisoners were always tugging on their belt loops. And speaking of belts, most prisons don’t allow them because A.) They make for good weapons, and B.) They make for good hangman nooses.

Gangsta rap, which was gaining mainstream popularity in the early 90’s, began glorifying the darker side of street life–everything from gang symbols to drug references to wearing baggy pants like a convicted felon. Because America has a fascination with gangstas (why else do you think you can catch The Godfather on television any day of the week?), kids started to dress and act like their favorite gangsta rappers (you didn’t really think that many people were fans of the Los Angeles Raiders, did you?).

At first, seeing someone’s underwear poke out of their pants was somewhat unsettling–I mean, c’mon, it is called underwear. But month after month, year after year, more people started to do it. A couple years into the ’90s, pop music started to adopt the fashion trend, and before long not only was Ice T and N.W.A. sporting “the sag,” but so was Marky Mark and TLC. Even alternative music artists began adopting the fad, and before long it seemed that at least one artist from every genre in music was dropping their drawers.

During my senior year of high school, I joined in on the fun too–although my sag was always pretty conservative (the maximum I went was about three inches below my butt dimples). Unlike some of my suburban classmates who began sandwiching their sentences with the word “yo,” I didn’t adopt the gangsta rap mentality–butt (pun intended)–I’d be lying if I told you “the sag” didn’t give me a smidgen of empowerment. The only thing I didn’t like about the sag–besides people abusing its power by going total butt cheek on everyone–was its seemingly short life span. I saw too many pictures of my parents in the ’70s and didn’t want my future children to snicker at me the same way I did when I saw my Dad and Mom in tinted glasses, butterfly-collared shirts, and bell-bottom pants.

I thought for sure “the sag” would be dead by the time I graduated from college. Not only was it going strong, but many metal bands–yes, metal, the same genre of music that brought us spandex jumpsuits–began playing rap music, and you guessed it, gave everyone a good look at their boxer shorts. In the actual world of rap music, Eminem, who was just starting to make a name for himself, added an interesting twist to “the sag” by hiking up his underpants. In the 2000’s, punk rock and emo kids–who began drooping their drawers the previous decade–began wearing tight jeans, yet somehow managed to maintain “the sag,” even while wearing a studded belt. (Yes, I know, it defies logic.)

In the early to mid 00’s, the fashion world conceded to “the sag” by bringing back low-rider jeans, or as I like to call them: underwear-ready pants. Wouldn’t you know it, people even began sagging their low-riders.

As I get to an age where I begin thinking about having children, it seems like I don’t have to concern myself with how my waistline looks in old photographs anymore. Twenty years strong and it doesn’t look like “the sag” is going anywhere (even though various state lawmakers have tried to ban the style).

So c’mon people, feel free to go one notch wider on your belt, let the waistband on your underwear see the light of day, but just don’t go too low–otherwise it may look like you have a Michael Phelps-sized torso on top of David Archuleta-sized legs, which makes great fodder for a Monday afternoon blog posting.


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.