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Rob Zombie’s “CSI: Miami” episode.

Rob Zombie’s “CSI: Miami” episode. (photo)

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While never a fan of Rob Zombie’s music, based solely off “The Devil’s Rejects” I have no choice but to take him seriously. He hasn’t delivered since, but the man has an original voice and is one of the few causes for hope about contemporary horror.

So I was curious to see what Zombie would make of “CSI: Miami” — he directed an episode that aired on Monday.

By all accounts, Quentin Tarantino’s “CSI” Vegas episode was distinctively his, though he co-wrote the story. Here, though, Zombie’s a hack for hire, his goal, he told the New York Daily News, only to “see what it was like” and make something his mom could enjoy for once.

The result, all round, is pretty weak fare. I’m not a regular viewer of “CSI” in any of its incarnations, but the last time I tuned in someone quite casually used a hand-controlled missile launcher. That’s just how things happen in Jerry Bruckheimer’s world.

Zombie’s episode (“LA”) has none of the casual flamboyance you’d expect from when Bruckheimer meets Zombie — for the most part, it’s awfully pokey. The plot’s a bit of nothing — we already know whodunnit from the start, and the main focus is on clearing the name of Jesse Cardoza (Eddie Cibrian), which involves flying to LA and dealing with his old police position. To be fair, LA’s a better fit for Zombie than Miami: he gets to deploy both “California Dreamin'” and “California Über Alles.”

03042010_csi2.jpgThere are a few reasons to slog through this if you’re a Zombie fan. Most of the Zombie regulars you’d expect to guest star do indeed show up — Sheri Moon Zombie, William Forsythe, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, plus Michael Madsen, who hasn’t worked with Zombie before, but is a perfect fit and seems to be making up all of his own dialogue (I especially liked it when he told a cop he thinks is short who claims to be 5’9″ that “My pants are 5’9!”). You’d think David Caruso — who’s never been afraid to play the fool before — would camp it out, but he’s oddly restrained this time. The flamboyant slack is taken up by Malcolm McDowell and Madsen, who basically walk away with the whole episode.

But the real reason to watch are the unbelievable opening five minutes, which could be identified as Zombie’s without any names attached. It’s a rape-murder, and — with the use of some near subliminal, tricky shots and editing — he basically shows you the rape, on network TV, with extreme artfulness. All this while “Nosferatu” is playing in the background, which Zombie (film scholar that he is) keeps cutting to. It’s some of his finest work to date.

You can watch the episode online at IMDb here.

[Photos: “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 2010]


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.