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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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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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