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Peak Volume

Peak Volume (photo)

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A few months ago I was at a friends house relaxing in the living room with a mug of wine and a pizza. The lights were dim, we were engrossed in some show on his new widescreen plasma. It was a nice time. And then a commercial came on. There was a boom as the speakers blew, shrieking sparks and flaming plastic across the room, the widescreen shattered, hot plasma burned our eyes out. We spent the next hour recovering and trying to figure out why nothing is done about this gratuitous annoyance.

You know the routine. The question is when are people finally going to throw open their windows and hell into the streets, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Well, a bill proposed by California Rep. Anna Eshoo passed the house saying just that (in so many words). The bill is aimed at regulating the volume of TV ads that daily blast people’s faces off, and have been for decades.

The way it is now, commercials can be broadcast at peak volume – that is the loudest possible output equivalent to the most tremendous explosion or the most intense firefight. Commercials aren’t actually louder on paper from TV shows, it’s just that they are as loud as the loudest moments possible – all the time – and most show are not that loud. Couple this with how inherently annoying the are and you have the illusion of an auditory IED going off in your living room 18 out of every 60 minutes. The bill, titled Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) demands that the peak volume of a commercial be lowered to the peak volume of the segment airing just before it, thus restoring some balance. I guess if you’re watching “24” you may still suffer but at least it won’t be as jarring.

As sensible and overdue as this is some do no want any kind of government regulation. One guy in particular, Berin Szoka who works for the Progress and Freedom Foundation, sees to think the solution is a combination of: industry self regulation (well that hasn’t worked in lifetime), new industry hardware (more products!), and the mute button.

Sorry Szoka. While I can get down with his Orwellian fears to a degree, we the people lease this airspace to these corporations in the first place – and they are, have been and will continue to abuse it unless we the people legislate the shit out of them apparently. They can’t even determine what’s in their own best interest… is a standard practice of muting all ads good for them? Tivo has already permanently removed ads from many American homes, a trend that will only continue unless some commons sense is applied, if through legislation then so be it. It’s also clear that the Progress and Freedom Foundation is funded by large media corporations whose goals are dubious at best.


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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GIFs via Giphy

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.