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DID YOU READ

Insert Credit: ‘Resistance 3’

Insert Credit: ‘Resistance 3’   (photo)

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Insert Credit endeavors to suss out where you should be allotting your video game allowance, sifting out a single title from many and crowning it as The One Game You Need to Get This Week. Don’t consider these reviews, gentle reader. Rather, think of Insert Credit as a mix of hands-on time, informed opinion and intuition.

For the week of September 16, 2011, you should insert credit into: “Resistance 3.”

The Resistance games have always been cruelly star-crossed. The first-person shooter series developed by Insomniac Games debuted on the PS3 as Sony’s best hope in duplicating the Xbox’s blockbuster “Halo” series. The comparisons to “Halo” have dogged “Resistance”, even though the PS3 exclusive series presents a very different vision of human-vs-ET warfare. The first game introduced an alternate history where an alien virus that transforms humans into freakish slaves runs unchecked through early 20th Century Europe, changing history so that World War II never happens and alien Chimera maraud westward. In “Resistance” 1 and 2, you played as Lt. Nathan Hale and singlehandely saved London and the graeter parts of the United States from the Chimera.

But, now that “Resistance 3” seems to be resonating better with players, it appears that Hale himself may’ve one of the series bigger liabilities. He was a hero that things happened to, but one that wasn’t terribly reactive. Sure, the player was controlling him but, as the game was scripted, Hale didn’t seem to care much about the war he was fighting in. He never offered up much by way of reaction in the cutscenes where we got to see his face. And his raison d’etre–to be yet another stoic, save-the-world supersoldier–was just like that of too many other games for Hale to feel especially compelling. His allies, too, in both Resistance games were flatly drawn, to the point where when they die, the player feels next to nothing. I remember when the Sentinels–other human soldiers in Resistance 2 who proved immune to the viral taker of the invading alien Chimera–died one by one, I felt nothing.

There were strains of effective storytelling moments in Resistance 2, like a moment where you come upon a suburban home made into a terrible tableau. A quiet Craftsman home silently tells the story of a father feeding his children and himself lethal doses of pills let they become transformed into alien marauders. You stumble upon the clues as you move room to room and when you see the remains of father and son (around 2:10 in the clip above) lying next to each other, the horror of the act and the world that brought it on coming through like a gut-punch. But, again, there’s nothing about Nathan Hale and his mission that made that slice of the game any more affecting.

But, with Joseph Cappelli, we’ve got a hero better suited to drive home the emotional points of the Resistance saga’s latest installment. He’s a family man who gave up on being a world-saving supersoldier, choosing to quietly meet the eventual extinction of humanity by spending as much time as is left with his family. Of course, he gets drawn back into the war but moves through a world populated with a beaten-down humanity that more well-drawn overall.

While Capelli’s a good sight better than Hale, the truth of the Resistance franchise is that their personality really resides in its guns. Insomniac’s arguably the best weapon designer in video games nowadays, consistently delivering weapons in its Resistance and Ratchet & Clank games that blend the feeling of science-gone-wrong-gone-right and/or “Looney Tunes” sci-fi. Throughout three games, players have handled a collection of arms that let them see and shoot through walls or send bullets flying that can chase down enemies. Resistance 3 adds to that imaginative arsenal with the Mutator, a gun that makes victims balloon, puke and explode.

Resistance 3’s is probably Insomniac’s swan song on the series. The FPS franchise will continue but likely in the hands of other developers. While the story and characterization still aren’t the strongest points of “Resistance,” this year’s threequel leaves the universe in an interesting place for whatever happens next. The franchise gets more and more human as time goes on. Here’s hoping we see more of it.

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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.