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DID YOU READ

Elite Game Nerds Team Up for Original Animated Project at Paramount

Elite Game Nerds Team Up for Original Animated Project at Paramount (photo)

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You’d have to be living under a rock to not notice that geek culture’s in its ascendancy. Superhero movies have become the new summer blockbuster staple, genre paradigms are engulfing television and literature and, as an industry, video games have out-earned feature films for years now.

06022011_Penny_Arcade_The_New_Kid_resize.jpgYet, there’s a special breed of nerd success that exceeds the box office triumph of “Thor” or the mere existence of “Batman: Arkham City.” That victory comes when you somehow inherently know that geek talent reaches the mainstream without losing essential elements of their DNA. “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World,” while not a commercial success, shone brightly as a smart, attuned work of pop culture. The pairing of Edgar Wright with Bryan Lee O’Malley’s material created sparks and “SPvTW” will be a cult hit for years to come, adored for the respect it shows for its own integrity.

You could argue that “Penny Arcade” ‘s the same kind of production. Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik’s webcomic about two game-obsessed friends has grown into a cottage industry that includes bi-coastal fan expos, an online TV series and their own video games. The publishing industry came to them to collect the strip that’s been going for more than 12 years and the results have benefitted both parties. Gary Whitta‘s made-good story isn’t quite as huge, but it follows a similar arc. Whitta started off as a games journalist, eventually becoming editor of PC Gamer magazine. He’s done consulting work on various high profile games, including “Gears of War,” and has written comics and screenplays, too. His big splash came with the release of “The Book of Eli,” which delivered a clever, stylish post-apocalypse that bore a surprising amount of heart for an action flick.

So, news that Holkins, Krahulic and Whitta are collaborating on an CGI animated project for Paramount is almost like a perfect storm of nerd potential. Per the Hollywood Reporter, the trio will be working on “New Kid,” about a youngster adjusting to relocation to an extraterrestrial school where he’s the only human. Penny Arcade strips often go for the inside video game joke or the douchebag belly laugh, but they’re also capable of hitting unexpected moments of emotional poignancy in their work. Hopefully, they’ll be able to bring their visual stamp and sense of geek affect to bear on a film that’s going through the Hollywood studio system. Whitta brings along the same kind of nerd bonfides, beefed up with the clout of an actual successful feature. As you can see in the strip that inspired the deal, “The New Kid”‘s a springboard that can go any number of places, from ribald comedy to space epic to family drama. Here’s hoping that Whitta, Krahulic and Holkins get to take the project to whatever universe they want to.

Are you excited for “New Kid” as a feature film or worried about its journey through Hollywood? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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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.