“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.


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…


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. 


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 ’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?”


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).



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.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.