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Bros icing bros: the movie.

Bros icing bros: the movie. (photo)

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Bros Icing Bros is the latest ubiquitous internet meme — if you’re not yet familiar, it involves people forcing each other to drink the revolting sorta-alcoholic beverage Smirnoff Ice, sometimes at risk to their jobs or personal safety. Here’s a primer. A man named Joshua Heller is proposing a vérité documentary on the subject, and even though he’s joking, I’m going to take him at face value. The word “vérité” has frequently been abused and attacked; never, though, has it really been taken at such value.

The whole idea of “vérité” has been subject to attack and dispute from its inception. (For instance, the Wikipedia entry cites both Harmony Korine and Michael Moore, neither of whom come even close to “relaying the facts,” at least on purpose.) Nonetheless, it’s true that few people have tried to sum up the collective zeitgeist of any country through a documentary. You’d think that frustrated novelists would get on it; the tale of a generation awaits, and it involves fruit-flavored malt beverages. Yet no.

The footage below doesn’t really tell you anything other than that, shockingly, California is lower on bros willing to be iced than New York. It’s fascinating for several reasons, not least because the whole idea of dudes forcing each other to drink Smirnoff Ice at a moment’s notice and in a variety of inappropriate location does, in fact, smack of Harmony Korine — it encourages degradation without purpose. Here’s Heller’s video:

The vérité ideal is to show footage of How Things Are that maintains the illusion of not being mediated. “Bros icing bros” is obviously ephemeral nonsense, but it speaks volumes about the number of males out there so frustrated and annoyed by their jobs that they’re willing to gamble all that away. It’s not supposed to be pathological, but it is.

05262010_bros.jpgAnd I know Joshua Heller was making a joke, but someday someone’s going to want archival footage from this year. Watching footage of “bros icing bros,” it seems almost like “Fight Club” without the satire. There’s a bunch of pissed off dudes in this country not getting represented on-screen, and a stunt like this is one way they could be.

Watching footage like this (artless, full of rage even as it pretends to be innocuous) makes me wonder about the gap between everyday white-upper-middle-class experience and what’s getting recorded in nonfiction film.

Calling it “cinema vérité” is obviously intended as a joke, but in a way it’s true: once you know people do this at work (see above), you have to wonder how angry people are. And you have to appreciate user-enabled footage a bit more: this is passing, but it’s as zeitgeisty as it gets.

[Photos: “Bros Icing Bros: A How-to Documentary,” Joshua Heller, 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.