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Living in a Box

Amy York Rubin Explains How Not to Get ‘Boxed In’

Watch every episode of Boxed In right now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Boxed In premieres today on IFC’s Comedy Crib. In a special guest editorial, creator Amy York Rubin discusses her inspiration behind the series.

There are a lot of bullshit and straight-up lies that adults, and our culture in general, ram down our throats as young, impressionable children. “You can do anything if you put your mind to it!” Definitely not true. I will never be able to tell time on an analog clock with 100% confidence that I’m identifying the correct hour. Is that a lower bar for achievement than you anticipated? Probably. Sorry to let you down so soon. Get in line behind my parents.

Some of the lies we’re told, however, are a little less direct. They’re a little trickier. One of the biggest, most pervasive lies of all is simply the idea of heterosexuality. Guess what, it doesn’t exist. Everyone is faking it. The seduction of normalcy is that strong. Heterosexuality and the concept of any kind of hard and fast binary identity is just plain bullshit. To anyone not living under a bigoted rock, this is not news. However, despite this somewhat old idea, most people don’t live according to this rule. I mean, there are more “socially acceptable,” lived variations in the Myers-Briggs test than there are for gender and sexual preference. I’m not saying you can’t Google a long fucking list of sexual orientations or non-conforming gender type identities. I’m just saying trying to actually LIVE in the world like that is kinda rare and tricky.

Boxed In Fashion

I’ve spent most of my life trying not to belong to any group but still trying to reap all the benefits you get from belonging to a group. For example, I don’t feel 100% comfortable calling myself a “lesbian” but I made an entire web series where I identify myself as a lesbian in the logline. I was born with a vagina but I’d say 85% of the time that I’m around other people with vaginas I’m shocked that we both have one. This is the dilemma –- connection with other people tends to come from similarities, being part of the same group, identifying a shared experience, that sort of thing. BUT, at least for me personally (and I’d judgmentally and rudely argue that for everyone) it’s a fucking lie and a performance of a lifetime to suggest that any one of us belong firmly in any one group. Yet this is what we do. I understand the necessity of doing this (social and political power yadda yadda) but I also believe that the consequences of this outweigh the benefits because it forces us into this teeny, tiny, frustrating, mirage of a box that doesn’t allow us to actually be who we are or do what we might want.

Boxed In Therapist

The truth is, no one is straight. No one is gay. No one is female. No one is male. No one ONLY eats seeds. Except vegans and even vegans sometimes eat other stuff. Everyone is an unidentifiable mishmash of various bits and pieces of identities, allegiances, preferences, genders, sexes, ethnicities…maybe except Nazis, but you get the point.

Boxed In Might Be Gay

So, this new series that I’ve made for IFC, wonkily and perhaps a bit on-the-nose called Boxed In, is an exploration of this idea and what it looks like to try and live by this belief. In the series, I wanted to explore this life-long and continuing personal pursuit of mine to connect with people – make friends, get laid, have fun etc. – without fully committing to, specifically, any lesbian identity or derivative of such identity. I guess, if I was one of those people who did exactly as she wanted and didn’t have any judgments about anything, I’d just shut-up and call myself “queer.” That word is probably closest to everything I’m talking about and does kind of get around this issue of a binary identity…buuuut I just cannot bring myself to say, “Hey. I’m Amy and I’m queer.” Sorry. Maybe I still have some residual shame issues. Definitely possible. And I respect everyone who wears a beanie in the southern California heat and who drives a Vespa un-ironically and who call themselves queer, but I just cannot do it.

Thumb Rings

So, my queerness has no name. And I believe a lot of people (most people) have a similar issue. They just don’t fit perfectly anywhere. However, most people (to my shock and awe) are more willing to squeeze themselves into a box in the name of human connection, acceptance and socio-political power. Those people are fucking cowards and they need to stop. Everybody get out of your fake box. You do NOT fit. Although, after watching this series and getting a sneak peek at what it’s like to try and not be in a box –- perhaps a bit isolating, confusing, stressful and at times hypocritical — you might want to stay firmly in your box. Whatever, you do you but I still think you’re faking it.

Amy York Rubin received critical acclaim for her 2013 popular “darkly comedic” web series, Little Horribles, which was named one of the top ten web series of the year by Variety. The triple-threat performer continues to write and direct in Los Angeles and has collaborated with comedians such as Sarah Silverman, Ilana Glazer, Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant.

Check out an episode of Boxed In below. Click here to watch the full series.

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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