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Schwarzen-Watch: Arnold’s Paternity Scandal

Schwarzen-Watch: Arnold’s Paternity Scandal (photo)

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IFC.com’s film writer, Matt Singer, is the biggest Arnold Schwarzenegger fan on the planet. He blogs any time any news about Schwarzenegger’s return to acting, no matter how flimsy or improbable, hits the Internet.

Suddenly the famous line from “Kindergarten Cop” — “Who is your daddy, and what does he do?” — is ultra-poignant.

The Los Angeles Times reports the latest wrinkle in the sordid saga of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver’s separation: that Schwarzenegger fathered a child with a married woman who worked for the couple’s family for twenty years prior to his election as Governor of California back in 2003. Schwarzenegger’s statement to The Times:

“After leaving the governor’s office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago… I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry.”

As I wrote when I first covered Schwarzenegger and Shriver’s separation, this is not really the sort of thing I like writing about. But (as I wrote in that same piece) Schwarzenegger and Shriver’s relationship is so intertwined with his career, and informs so many choices he made in Hollywood, that this stuff has cinematic ramifications. I don’t care about the gossip, I care about the movies.

And it will be very interesting to see how this latest revelation affects the projects Schwarzenegger has already announced as part of his return to filmmaking, most notably “The Governator,” his cartoon series with Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee. The show was originally pitched as superheroic riff on Schwarzenegger’s real life; according to quotes from Lee in Entertainment Weekly, “The Governator” would include Shriver and Schwarzenegger’s children as characters. That seems utterly impossible now.

The initial trailer for the cartoon was bright and poppy, which feels inappropriate too. Shouldn’t The Governator be more of a dark and brooding Batman-esque figure now? His family has moved out, he’s living alone in this giant Brentwood mansion, waging a one man war on crime with no one around but his faithful buddy James Cameron around to keep him company. The whole project will almost certainly need to be reconceived from scratch, if it ever happens at all.

This news also invites new interpretations of many of Schwarzenegger’s past films. I joked about “Kindergarten Cop,” but there’s a movie that’s entirely about a man becoming a dad to a fatherless child, a theme that Schwarzenegger repeated in “Terminator 2” and “Last Action Hero” and “Collateral Damage.” He also played emotionally screwed-up fathers in “True Lies” and “Jingle All the Way.” And rethinking “Junior” in this new context is making my brain throb.

The other fundamental element of the second phase of Schwarzenegger’s career inaugurated by his marriage to Shriver and the birth of his kids (more on that here) was the role of deceit and deception in marriage. In “Raw Deal,” made the same year Schwarzenegger married Shriver, he plays a man who fakes his own death so he can sneak away from his wife to go undercover in the Mafia. In “Total Recall,” Schwarzenegger’s character’s wife may or may not be a secret agent placed by his enemies to spy on him and ensure he doesn’t remember his real identity. In “The 6th Day” there are two Arnolds — clones — and the existence of the second one is kept secret from his wife and family.

More and more, “True Lies” looks like the Rosetta Stone text of Schwarzenegger’s entire career. He plays a husband who keeps his life as a superspy secret from his wife (Jamie Lee Curtis) and daughter (Eliza Dushku). On its surface, the film is a big budget action picture and a romantic comedy, but it also asks deeper questions about what it means to be faithful in a relationship and it also features some especially interesting material about Schwarzenegger’s character spying on his wife after he begins to suspect she is having an affair (coughPROJECTINGcough). “True Lies”‘s simple, happy ending — secrets revealed, family reunited and strengthened — now feels ironic and wistful.

There are a lot of details we don’t know about this case that could impact the readings of these movies, particularly when this affair took place and when the anonymous child was born. But this whole phase of this career, which I’ve always attributed to Schwarzenegger’s marriage to Shriver and her influence in selecting projects, might need to be totally reconsidered.

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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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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.”

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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.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.