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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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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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