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Will Arnett and Jason Bateman pair with Activision for “Call of Duty” content

Will Arnett and Jason Bateman pair with Activision for “Call of Duty” content  (photo)

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Activision’s looking to make this year a banner one for the best-selling “Call of Duty” franchise. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” ramps op the action to heretofore never-before-seen stakes, thrusting players into a multi-front conflict erupting in New York, London, Prague, Berlin and other major Western cities. Online players will be able to compare stats, form groups and mine through the game’s performance data to their hearts’ content on the game’s “Call of Duty” Elite social network, already in beta testing with last year’s “Black Ops” title. And the publisher’s taking things real-world with the upcoming “Call of Duty XP” fan fest on Labor Day weekend, where attendees can shoot it up in paintball matches massive reproductions of multiplayer maps and compete in a $1 million dollar tournament.

The Elite social platform’s going to be a key part of the “COD” strategy moving forward, and Activision’s announce that they’ll have a premium tier of the service that fans can shell out an undisclosed monthly fee for. It’s also been mysterious as what extras premium Elite members would be getting for their money. Possibilities like celebrity-focused game-with-fame sessions and early access to DLC have been bandied about. Now, via The Hollywood Reporter, comes word of a deal that might be bound for the premium Elite channel.

THR reports that Will Arnett and Jason Bateman will be developing exclusive content for “Call of Duty” Elite platform through their DumbDumb production company. NO word on whether either of the stars will star in the programming, but Arnett already has close ties to Infinity Ward, one of the three dev studios making “COD: MW3.” He told THR:

“I consider myself a gamer,” said Arnett. “When you look at the time spent gaming, versus other entertainment outlets whether it’s watching TV or watching movies; for me, I probably spend more time gaming. I want my videogames to be entertaining. You realize that videogames are a real outlet that needs to be taken seriously.”

The corollary to Arnett’s remarks is that there’s more media being created in the orbits around phenomena like “Call of Duty,” “Halo” or “World of Warcraft.” Most gamers know that Austin-based collective Rooster Teeth used “Halo” to create a comedy empire that started with “Red vs. Blue.” In much the same way, Felicia Day became an internet success with “The Guild,” a webseries built around the lives of people who play an MMO suspiciously similar to “WoW.” Kevin Tancharoen’s unofficial “Mortal Kombat” film earned him a sanctioned web series–“Mortal Kombat: Legacy” from Warner Brothers, too.

And, no surprise, “Call of Duty” homages abound on YouTube. The “Find Makarov” short that debuted earlier this year garnered a massive following for the We Can Pretend studio that created it. Activision took notice and invited the Toronto-based shop to show off their latest “COD”-derived work at the XP fan fest.

What’s important about this DumbDumb/Activision partnership is the involvement of established Hollywood talent in direct-to-web video programming. The fruits of their labor will probably follow the low cost, down-n-dirty model that thrives on the web, but it’ll be interesting to see if Arnett and Bateman will loop in any other self-identified gamers from Hollywood to get involved. Folks lucky or devoted enough to make the pilgrimage to Call of Duty XP 2011 will get a glimpse of the DumbDumb “COD” Elite project and might even get a chance to take out Arnett in a multiplayer match to boot. As for the game at the center of all this, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” comes out on November 8 for multiple platforms.

What are your expectations for Will Arnett and Jason Bateman’s partnership with “Call of Duty”? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.


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.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

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:


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.


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!


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.


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.



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.”


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. 


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.