DID YOU READ

Maggie Carey Talks Dirty About The To Do List

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For every movie about a guy’s quest to lose his virginity, there’s a girl’s story left untold — but The To Do List has that on the top of its list to remedy. Our heroine, Brandy Klark, played with much aplomb by Aubrey Plaza, is her graduating high school class’ valedictorian, but she has a singular goal to achieve before she starts college — and it’s to sleep with hot older guy about town Rusty Waters (played by Scott Porter). Since she’s a virgin, her plan is to get some experience under her belt first, so she makes a checklist of every sexual practice she’s ever heard of, with the goal to acquire skills she thinks it would be necessary to finally “graduate” in this arena.

“People said, ‘Aubrey’s too pretty. Guys would just sleep with her, no problem,'” the film’s writer/director Maggie Carey told IFC. “But she doesn’t want just any boy. She wants a hot college boy, and she has no way to wow him. She’s inarticulate in front of him.”

Brandy, however, is far from inarticulate in front of everybody else. She’s the quintessential high-achieving smart girl at school, who in any other movie or sitcom would be portrayed as a nerd, even if she’s a cute nerd. Think Carol Seavers on Growing Pains, Jesse on Saved by the Bell, Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tracy Flick in Election, Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series. Some of these girls are referenced visually in the film, which takes place in 1993, since the costume designer actually tracked down wardrobe items from Saved by the Bell and Beverly Hills, 90210. “When Rachel Bilson shows up at the pool with a great black and white print with the midriff showing, that was something Donna would have worn,” Carey said.

Although these girls did sometimes get the hot guy (or hot girl, in Willow’s case), they usually had some degree of romantic feeling about it. The ones who were a little more cynical about it — Stacy in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Ferris and Angel in Little Darlings — had to pay a price of sorts for their nonchalance.”One thing that was very important to me is that losing it wasn’t a bad thing,” Carey said. “I didn’t want Brandy to regret it. It didn’t happen as she thought it would, or the way she expected it would, but she was in control. The audience never had to be worried for her, so you’re not uncomfortable.”

Some of Brandy’s first experiences with making out, digital stimulation, and hand jobs are with her male study partner Cameron (played by Johnny Simmons). From his perspective, this constitutes a romance, but not in Brandy’s eyes.

“That was something that even when I was trying to get the movie financed, marketed, and tested, people kept calling it a romantic comedy,” Carey laughed. “But this is not romantic! This is a comedy comedy, not a romantic comedy. Don’t get me wrong. I love romantic comedies, but that’s not what this is. Brandy is stereotypically male, and Cameron is stereotypically female, because he’s sappy about it, and she’s more methodical, treating sex like she’s studying for a test.”

Hence her penchant for wanting to get the terminology right. A funny discussion between Brandy’s friends (played by Alia Shawkat and Sarah Steele) is a debate about what to call a particular sex act, pre-Internet when you couldn’t look up sex slang on Google. “It’s the one most people kept asking me about, when I sent out a draft of the script for feedback,” Carey said. “Fingerbang. One person said, ‘No, I think it’s called, ‘Fingerblasted.’ Another would write back, ‘I think it’s fingerbombed.’ So I turned that into the argument in the movie.” (The term that confused Carey most growing up? “Pearl necklace. No one was doing it, but people would make jokes about it, and you’d be like, ‘What is that? What? No thank you!'”)

During one of these feedback sessions, Michael Cera came up with an alternate title for the film — The Fuck-It List. “That was a pretty brilliant title,” Carey chuckled. “We actually were going to call the film The Hand Job at one point, and then once we started location scouting at schools, we realized we couldn’t keep it.”

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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