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“The Adventures of Tintin” Primer: A 101 guide to the famous boy detective


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Steven Spielberg’s ambitious film “The Adventures of Tintin” will finally make it to American theaters today, nearly two months after being released in the United Kingdom. While the boy reporter Tintin is one of the most famous comic characters in the world, stateside the beloved creation of Belgian cartoonist Hergé has always played second fiddle to superheroes.

So, in order to ensure that you, our beloved readers, are ready to fully enjoy and appreciate Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin,” we’ve compiled the following primer. The flick, which adapts elements from three of Hergé’s books, including “The Crab with the Golden Claws,” “The Secret of the Unicorn” and “Red Rackham’s Treasure,” is totally self-sufficient and succeeds on its own merits, but with this primer, you’ll be able to impress fellow filmgoers with your knowledge of bande dessinée (French for comics, natch).


The focus of Hergé’s most famous work, Tintin is an intrepid boy reporter, easily identifiable by his blonde, flipped up hairstyle and signature blue sweater. Somewhat of a blank slate, Tintin’s past and family are never mentioned, and his only character traits seem to be culled from the Boy Scout Oath and Law. In the past, Tintin has sometimes been criticized as an unrealized or even bland character – similar to the complaints lodged against contemporary portrayals of Superman. But like Superman, Tintin is interesting not because of any character flaws, but as an idealized force of nature (in this case, his curiosity, dependability and optimism) cast into a world of deceit and shady goings-on.

Fun fact: The proper Franco-Belgian pronunciation of the character’s name actually sounds like “Tantan,” but unless you’re wearing a beret, you should probably just stick to “Tintin.”


Tintin’s constant companion is his small, white terrier-esque dog Snowy. Though he can’t speak, in the comics Snowy does occasionally have thought balloons, and is also otherwise heavily anthropomorphized. Snowy is a faithful, well-meaning pet, but frequently lets his animal nature get in the way of a case. Just as often, however, its Snowy’s reckless exploration that sets Tintin on the path of solving a mystery. Thus, Snowy’s impulsiveness serves as a counterpoint to the measured, almost analytical acts of his owner.

Captain Haddock

Similarly, Tintin’s friend Captain Haddock (who he meets for the first time in “The Crab with the Golden Claws”) serves to illustrate what Tintin is not. While Haddock is a loyal friend, he’s also a drunkard, and given the option, he’ll choose Scotch Whiskey over pretty much anything else. In this way, he’s like an extreme version of Snowy, often ruled almost entirely by his base instincts, and the source of countless tirades that substitute a bevy of great SAT words for actual profanity. Unlike Tintin and Snowy, who are largely ciphers, Captain Haddock is a more fully realized character, with strengths and weaknesses that serve as a contrast to the ultra-goodness of Tintin.


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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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.