DID YOU READ

Alia Shawkat talks “The Oranges” and how her Jersey character relates to “Arrested Development”

Alia Shawkat in The Oranges

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In “The Oranges,” two families live across the street from each other in West Orange, New Jersey. One family, the Ostroffs, have a wayward daughter (played by Leighton Meester) who comes home one Thanksgiving only to hook up with the father (played by Hugh Laurie) of the second family, the Wallings. This of course rains down ruin upon both families — which used to be so close, they were almost one family — and is the occasion for much delightful disdain by our whipsmart narrator, played by Alia Shawkat, whose Vanessa is Meester’s former BFF and Laurie’s daughter, giving her a unique and funny perspective on the proceedings. (“All right! It’s time to kill myself,” Vanessa quips at one key point.)

“Because it’s coming from a person who is very much in her own world,” Shawkat told IFC, “it’s a cool set-up. She’s in this mess, because she’s forced herself to be in it, because she still lives at home. If she had a healthy life and lived on her own, had a good job, and a boyfriend, it would be a very different reaction. But she’s like, ‘What the fuck? This is crazy!'”

Like Shawkat’s beloved character on “Arrested Development,” Vanessa is over it before it even happens — both of them have a “very dry disgust” for the events unfolding in their respective crazy families. The Bluths and the Funkes on “Arrested” “have a completely different moral system,” the actress points out. “‘Family comes first’ is the theme, but it’s really more about how dealing with a fucked-up family can be detrimental, especially to the children, because Maeby just wants to get attention all the time from her parents.”

“But with [the Wallings and the Ostroffs], it really was family first,” she added. “They had a dinner together every Sunday night, and other rituals, and yeah, they were somewhat bored, but it was a close family.” Consequently, Vanessa and Maeby “come from different places,” she said. (Coincidentally, “Arrested Development” takes place in Orange County, and while West Orange, New Jersey and Orange County, California are on opposite sides of the country, the two suburbs are a lot alike.)

Both Vanessa and Maeby, who are “too smart for their own good,” Shawkat said, “but they don’t really know what’s best for them.” If the actress were in either situation in real life, she would move out, she said — pronto. But even though that’s what Vanessa’s mother Paige (Catherine Keener) does, Vanessa stays, at least at first. “She’s not moving or anything,” Shawkat said. “She’s not accomplishing her own dreams. She’s bitter. She’s not feeling good about herself. She doesn’t have the confidence to be on her own.”

When the affair becomes public, hardly anyone reacts rationally, and the audience’s sympathies keep shifting. “You get to decide who you want to root for,” Shawkat. “You don’t know, is Paige crazy? The way she’s reacting, it’s almost comic in the beginning.”

So while some people throw punches, disfigure Christmas cards , stalk and hide in the bushes, and drive cars onto lawns to destroy holiday decorations, the more “it gives Vanessa a reason to be upset in the first place,” Shawkat said. “You know when you’re feeling like crap? You take it out on other people: ‘See? You fucked up. This is crazy.’ But really, it’s just her dealing with her own shit. She doesn’t know how to process that this is putting a mirror to her, in a way. ‘Fuck! This happened, and I’m still at home!'”

Which of course, eventually prompts her to put her own life in order. The solution she comes up with would also work for Maeby, now that she’s older. Will Maeby finally move out of the Bluth residence and strike out on her own? (And not just as a teen movie executive?) “It might be time!” Shawkat laughed. “Maybe she will!”

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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