DID YOU READ

“Sims” Creator To Debut Crowd-Sourced, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure TV Show

“Sims” Creator To Debut Crowd-Sourced, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure TV Show (photo)

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The man who showed us the glee in forbidding little virtual people from peeing is bringing his game design philosophy to cable television, thanks to a new partnership with Current TV. Will Wright, creator of the “Sims,” “Sim City” and “Spore” will be co-producing a new program’s called “Bar Karma” for the Al Gore-founded channel. The series will craft the episodes’ plots according to input from the audience. The network’s official press release reads:

Anchored by technology that Wright has developed exclusively for Current TV, the series, tentatively titled Bar Karma, will enlist viewers to join an online global community at a special web destination entitled, “Current TV’s Creation Studios.” At this virtual television studio, users will participate in the development of all creative and technical aspects of production and communicate directly with the producers of the show.
Current has also signed Albie Hecht, former President of Spike TV and President of
Entertainment at Nickelodeon, who has served as Wright’s co-creator on the
project and will executive produce the series, with his digital entertainment studio
Worldwide Biggies serving as the show’s production company. David Cohn, former
General Manager of MTV2, will serve as executive in charge for the network.

“Bar Karma is a culmination of over a year’s work and I am very excited to see the results as we join together not only gamers and television viewers, but actually create a community that will be empowered with a professional production team,” stated Will Wright. “To develop and lead an initiative like this fulfills a long held passion for television, and I am thrilled that Current would provide the resources and creative support to bring this to air.”

“I have always been excited by innovation and what we are creating is unlike anything on
television,” stated Albie Hecht of Worldwide Biggies. “The technology that Will has invented empowers viewers to participate, but also provides direct communication to me and my production team. We will be taking our cues from the viewers, working with them and then quickly producing high quality, original content. This is truly a paradigm-changing project that will showcase the creativity of the general public in shaping a television series.”

Want to know this crazy idea is going to work? More details from the press relase:

Bar Karma will be comprised of four key production stages:

STEP 1 – JOINING – Viewers will log on to “Current TV’s Creation Studios” at
www.current.com/barkarma through their computers and mobile devices and join the online community.

STEP 2 – CREATING – Viewers will submit potential story ideas on an ongoing basis. Each week the show producers will provide the viewing community with a rough outline for the upcoming episode. Viewers will then have the ability to create various storyboards of unlimited plot possibilities.

STEP 3 – VOTING – Viewers will browse, comment and merge various ideas for the episode. Final proposals will then be reviewed and voted on.

STEP 4 – PRODUCING – After the final storyboard is selected by the community, Hecht and Worldwide Biggies will adapt, shoot, produce and edit the winning storyline into a 30-minute television episode.

Will Wright’s video games have been all been about the relationship between choice and influence. The legendary game designer’s most famous creation came in the form of “The Sims,” where players exerted god-like control over when and how virtual people get to meet their needs and aspirations. “The Sims” blends the roleplay of a Barbie dollhouse with ever more complex psychological modeling to create tiny little universes where surprisingly emergent storylines and behaviors could play out. Two years ago, Wright’s focus expanded with “Spore,” where you grew single-celled organisms into infinitely customizable lifeforms that you evolved to the point where they could go into outer space.

So, even though it sounds like a cross between the core concept of “Project Greenlight” and the call-in mechanic from “American Idol,” “Bar Karma” still implements ideas that have run through Wright’s work since its earliest days. Those ideas have made him a superstar game designer but it remains to be seen if they’ll make him as successful on cable TV. “Bar Karma” is tentatively scheduled for the first quarter of 2011.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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