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“Undeclared” Ep. 13 and 14, “Truth or Dare” / “The Day After”

“Undeclared” Ep. 13 and 14, “Truth or Dare” / “The Day After” (photo)

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“Undeclared” is now airing on IFC, and we thought we’d take this opportunity to revisit the show that further cemented broadcast television’s inability to recognize the genius of Judd Apatow. Every week, Matt Singer and Alison Willmore will be offering their thoughts on two more episodes.

Episode 13
Truth or Dare
Teleplay by Seth Rogen
Story by Judd Apatow
Directed by Greg Mottola

Episode 14
The Day After
Written by Judd Apatow & Seth Rogen
Directed by Judd Apatow

“They could all be the one and you don’t know until you sleep with them. All of them!” — Lloyd

Our second two-parter in a row on “Undeclared” really pushes forward the main storyline of the series: the on-and-off-again-then-awkwardly-off-then-kind-of-back-on-then-off-again romance of Steven and Lizzie. With Eric finally and completely out of the picture, Lizzie begins voraciously flirting with Steven, but Lloyd mistakes her wandering around their suit in just a bra and pajama bottoms as a sign that she sees the boys as brothers and not potential sex objects. It takes all of “Truth or Dare” for the, yes, truth to come out, and “The Day After” picks up the next morning, with Steven and Lizzie enjoying their first moments as a new, excessively cutesy couple. Jay Baruchel does a great job playing Steven’s palpable excitement at maybe having landed his dream girl, particularly in his endearingly dorky delivery of the line “I just got to call her baby to her face this time!”

But romantic bliss is fleeting in Apatown, as once again Lloyd sticks his nose into Steven’s business, warning him that he’s headed for disaster if he keeps submitting to Lizzie’s every sexual whim. He somehow convinces Steven to play hard to get and then to go to a party without her, ostensibly for the purposes of a “guy’s night out.” The whole thing blows up Steven’s face, and he runs back into Lizzie’s arms to the sounds of Ryan Adams’ “Gonna Make You Love Me.”

You can see the pattern forming. Lloyd, the presumed ladies’ man of the group, is actually complete idiot when it comes to women, and his advice about how to act around them is worthless. We’ve talked about this before. But at this point, Lloyd’s suggestions are getting so destructive you have to start to wonder whether he’s actually giving Steven bad pointers on purpose to sabotage his relationships. Lloyd’s got lots of women but they’re just interested in his body. It seems reasonable that for all his razzing of him, he might be jealous of Steven, and the fact that he has a girl who wants to be with him for more than one night.

Judd Apatow, who co-wrote both halves of this two-parter and directed “The Day After,” is credited with mainstreaming the “bromantic comedy,” where relationships between the male lead and his buddies are way more important than any sexual ones in the film. Writing endearing and credible male friendships is one of Apatow’s most heavily praised skills. But “Undeclared”‘s portrait of bromance has grown increasingly negative. Steven nearly joined a frat in “Hell Week” because of Ron, Lloyd, and Marshall’s relentless teasing; in “The Day After” they nearly wreck his chance to land the girlfriend of dreams, possibly out of jealousy. The guys on “Undeclared” share some good times — see the charming, improvisatory conversation that opens “Truth or Dare” — but they also bicker, tease, backstab, and “crotchblock” (as Ron does when he gets Busy Phillips’ Kelly to repeatedly intrude whenever he makes a move on a girl in the party). So what do you think, Alison? Is Lloyd intentionally ruining Steven’s relationship? And are you finding “Undeclared”‘s anti-bromantic vibe as interesting as I do?

Alison: In Lloyd’s defense, he floats around on a totally different plane than the other guys, something “The Day After” makes amusing obvious when it shows his technique with the ladies at the party the group of them attend. It goes something like this: He shows up. The end. There’s no question that he has the most experience with the opposite sex of anyone in their suite — Ron only just loses his virginity to his campus tour guide crush Kelly (Busy Philipps, another visiting “Freaks and Geeks” alum) in the space of the night between these two episodes, we’ve witnessed the entirety of Steven’s sexual history and Marshall’s so far seemed a hopeless case. So it makes sense that he should try to offer advice, but also that everything he thinks he knows is completely useless to the non-cherubic mortals that are his roommates.

And no, I don’t think Lloyd’s jealous of Steven or trying to break him and Lizzie up — he seems genuinely happy for the two of them when he sneaks back into the room in the morning. He’s also surprisingly benevolent when it comes to trying to get Marshall some play, talking him up and switching places with him so that he’s in the center of the action. I don’t doubt he means well, it’s just what works for him won’t work for any of the other three. And while I think you make some interesting points about these two episodes being rather anti-bromantic, Apatow’s never been one to portray one’s guy friends as always having all the answers or not sometimes holding you back — recall the weird and contradictory advice offered to Andy Stitzer by his coworkers in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” or, for that matter, the Lloyd-esque advice offered to Nick by Daniel in “Freaks and Geeks,” when he advises Nick try to win Lindsay back by cold shouldering her.

I found it interesting that “The Day After” parallels Lloyd and Rachel, the two hot ones, as the major proponents for singledom — because, naturally, singledom is easiest for them. Lloyd hasn’t so far felt the desire to date except when goaded into it by Steven because new girls are always throwing themselves at his feet. Rachel doesn’t feel the need for a boyfriend because when she offers herself up on the body shot bench guy fight over the chance to lap tequila out of her belly button. Being free and unattached is a lot more attractive when you’re, well, attractive. Despite their flirtations with the party scene, Steven and Lizzie are giant softies and ultimately not afraid to admit it — they want the totally codependent relationship you know they’re destined for. Ron, on the other hand, might not be so lucky. As sweet as his courtship of Kelly has been (despite getting it on with poor Marshall in the room, a major roommate faux pas), her dismissal of his assumption of monogamy doesn’t seem like a good sign.

Matt, while Lloyd may claim to know everything about women, it’s Perry (Jarrett Grode) who gets to make out with Rachel in “Truth or Dare.” Matt, what do you make of the character and his flirtation by way of confessions of vulnerability and inexperience?

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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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