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Jonah Hill’s weight, an unexpected inspiration for think pieces.

Jonah Hill’s weight, an unexpected inspiration for think pieces. (photo)

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What are the ethics of enabling unhealthy behavior if it enriches your financial bottom line? It’s a question that was raised, in passing, by Lil Wayne doc “The Carter,” and it comes to mind when reading pieces about — of all things — Jonah Hill being fat. Let’s not mince words here: in the three years since “Superbad,” Hill (along with Kevin James) has been using his girth as a prop, as the key to his persona. To be Hill is to wave one’s arms, roll with the punches and navigate the world in a different way from most screen stars.

So what does it mean when you get a weird think piece like Leah Rozen’s over at The Wrap, which tries to locate Hill in a lineage of portly comic stars? Rozen suggests he’s neither “the wild and crazy guy” nor any other “fat man default modes,” but “an average, even sweet fellow, often a little insecure, trying to get by.” “In more recent decades, stars who traded on their size for laughs include John Belushi, John Candy and Chris Farley — all of whom, sadly, died well before their time,” she notes.

Similarly, what does it mean to read a rebuttal-ish post from Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere complaining that Hill’s size gets in the way of his performance? (Gets in the way. Heh.) “Hill is running down a Las Vegas hotel hallway with Russell Brand and it’s hard not to think ‘Jesus, he’s gonna need oxygen if he doesn’t slow down,'” Wells muses.

06042010_grown.jpgWhat’s missing from both these pieces is the acknowledgment that Hill (and the more famous Kevin James) embody the average multiplex-dweller better than all of our toned, groomed and thin stars. Jeffrey Wells finds it odd that Hill’s weight is “never once commented on” in “Get Him To The Greek,” but there’s nothing weird about that at all. That’s the reality: when you have a country where a third of people are obese or overweight, who would notice?

The true surprise is that there aren’t more actors like this: people claim to want glitz and glamor, but casting an obese guy is like a small validation of self. Hill’s weight isn’t a prop or tool: it’s just the way it is.

That means grouping him in with all those other portly comedians is pointless for any other than health reasons — reviewing him can start to feel like an excuse to chide, berate and hope for his improved health, the critic as doctor. And who asked for that?

[Photos: “Get Him to the Greek,” Universal, 2010; “Grown Ups,” Sony, 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.