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DID YOU READ

Requiem For a Macho Man

Requiem For a Macho Man (photo)

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Sad news, children of the ’80s: wrestler Randy “Macho Man” Savage died this morning after suffering a heart attack behind the wheel of his car. He was 58. According to TMZ, Savage, who was wearing his seatbelt at the time, was driving his “2009 Jeep Wrangler when he veered across a concrete median … through oncoming traffic … and collided head-on with a tree.”

Without exaggeration, The Macho Man was one of my biggest childhood heroes. For a kid who read comic books, when he and Hulk Hogan teamed up to form the Mega Powers it was like tangible proof that super-heroes really did exist. When Macho and the Hulkster broke up (over a woman!), it was like learning Santa Claus didn’t exist. I quickly got over my emotional devastation when I remembered what a great villain Macho Man made. Nobody could piss off a crowd, or cheat when the ref wasn’t looking, like the Macho Man. After he beat “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, the current “King of the Ring,” he finally earned the title he so richly deserved: “The Macho King.” Later, he played a great professional wrestler in Sam Raimi’s first “Spider-Man” film.

In his prime, Macho Man’s work in the ring was so good it invalidated the whole “wrestling is fake” argument. Yes, the matches’ outcomes are predetermined. But Savage’s athleticism was 100% real. His feud with Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III is still considered one of the greatest of all time, or so I’m told by Wikipedia. All I knew at the time was it was awesome.

Speaking of the Hulk Hogan Macho Man breakup, back in the ’80s, that was as clear a battle of good versus evil as World War II. Looking back, though, I wonder if we all sided with the wrong guy. The crux of the Hogan/Macho feud was Macho’s onscreen girlfriend (and then real life wife) Miss Elizabeth. Essentially, Macho became jealous of Hogan’s success and was convinced that he was trying to steal his girl. In anger and frustration, he lashed out. Here’s the thing: Macho Man was exactly right. Hogan was kinda horning in on his girl, and Hogan was getting more attention even though Savage could wrestle circles around him. That’s not a cartoon wrestling feud: that’s classic Greek tragedy.

Of course, Savage will be best remembered for his years of outlandish commercials for Slim Jims, which all involved his trademark “OOOOO YEEEEAAAAH!” and his ferocious interpretation of the company’s slogan (“SNAP INTO A SLIM JIM!”). Without question, any person born in America between the years 1980 and 1989 has done their impression of Macho Man selling Slim Jims at least six thousand times. Savage’s commercials were fantastic: anarchic, manic, and hilarious. Pump the Kool-Aid Man full of methamphetamine, sprinkle in a dash of Carrie White’s telekinetic powers, and you start to get a sense of Savage’s pungent pitchman persona: pure, insane adrenaline. Here’s a prime example of his work to snap into.

I haven’t watched wrestling in more than fifteen years, but I still look back fondly at all those childhood Saturday mornings spent with “Superstars of Wrestling” and “Wrestling Challenge.” Unfortunately, it does feel like the story told by Darren Aronofsky in his beautiful and sad film “The Wrestler” has become far too common. Too many wrestlers die young and broke (the aforementioned Miss Elizabeth tragically died in 2003 of a drug overdose). The toll that lifestyle takes on your body, and the price these guys paid — and continue to pay — for our entertainment, is far too high. But I hope the Macho Man knew how much pleasure he gave the kids of my generation.

The Macho King is dead. Long live the Macho King. Oh yeah.

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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.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.