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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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Grow TFU

Adulting Like You Mean It

Commuters makes its debut on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Jared Warner, Nick Ciavarella, and Tim Dean were once a part of Murderfist, a group of comedy writers, actors, producers, parents, and reluctant adults. Together with InstaMiniSeries’s Nikki Borges, they’re making their IFC Comedy Crib debut with the refreshingly-honest and joyfully-hilarious Commuters. The webseries follows thirtysomethings Harris and Olivia as they brave the waters of true adulthood, and it’s right on point.

Jared, Nick, Nikki and Tim were kind enough to answer a few questions about Commuters for us. Here’s a snippet of that conversation…

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

Nick: Two 30-somethings leave the Brooklyn life behind, and move to the New Jersey suburbs in a forced attempt to “grow up.” But they soon find out they’ve got a long way to go to get to where they want to be.

IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jared: It’s a show about how f*cking stupid people who think they are smart can be.

IFC: What’s your origin story? When did you all meet and how long have you been working together?

Jared: Nick, Tim, and I were all in the sketch group Murderfist since, what, like 2004? God. Anyway, Tim and Nick left the group to pursue other frivolous things, like children and careers, but we all enjoyed writing together and kept at it. We were always more interested in storytelling than sketch comedy lends itself to, which led to our webseries Jared Posts A Personal. That was a show about being in your 20s and embracing the chaos of being young in the city. Commuters is the counterpoint, i guess. Our director Adam worked at Borders (~THE PAST!!~) with Tim, came out to a Murderfist show once, and we’ve kept him imprisoned ever since.

IFC: What was the genesis of Commuters?

Tim: Jared had an idea for a series about the more realistic, less romantic aspects of being in a serious relationship.  I moved out of the city to the suburbs and Nick got engaged out in LA.   We sort of combined all of those facets and Commuters was the end result.

IFC: How would Harris describe Olivia?

Jared: Olivia is the smartest, coolest, hottest person in the world, and Harris can’t believe he gets to be with her, even though she does overreact to everything and has no chill. Like seriously, ease up. It doesn’t always have to be ‘a thing.’

IFC: How would Olivia describe Harris?

Nikki:  Harris is smart, confident with a dry sense of humor but he’s also kind of a major chicken shit…. Kind of like if Han Solo and Barney Rubble had a baby.

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

Nikki:  I think this is the most accurate portrayal of what a modern relationship looks like. Expectations for what your life is ‘supposed to look like’ are confusing and often a let down but when you’re married to your best friend, it’s going to be ok because you will always find a way to make each other laugh.

IFC: Is the exciting life of NYC twentysomethings a sweet dream from which we all must awake, or is it a nightmare that we don’t realize is happening until it’s over?

Tim: Now that i’ve spent time living in the suburbs, helping to raise a two year old, y’all city folk have no fucking clue how great you’ve got it.

Nikki: I think of it similar to how I think about college. There’s a time and age for it to be glorious but no one wants to hang out with that 7th year senior. Luckily, NYC is so multifaceted that you can still have an exciting life here but it doesn’t have to be just what the twentysomethings are doing (thank god).

Jared: New York City is a garbage fire.

See the whole season of Commuters right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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C'mon Fellas

A Man Mansplains To Men

Why Baroness von Sketch Show is a must-see.

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Mansplaining is when a man takes it upon himself to explain something to a woman that she already knows. It happens a lot, but it’s not going to happen here. Ladies, go ahead and skip to the end of this post to watch a free episode of IFC’s latest addition, Baroness von Sketch Show.

However, if you’re a man, you might actually benefit from a good mansplanation. So take a knee, lean in, and absorb the following wisdom.

No Dicks

Baroness von Sketch Show is made entirely by women, therefore this show isn’t focused on men. Can you believe it? I know what you’re thinking: how will we know when to laugh if the jokes aren’t viewed through the dusty lens of the patriarchy? Where are the thinly veiled penis jokes? Am I a bad person? In order: you will, nowhere, and yes.

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Huge Balls

Did you know that there’s more to life than poop jokes, sex jokes, body part jokes? I mean, those things are all really good things, natch, and totally edgy. But Baroness von Sketch Show does something even edgier. It holds up a brutal funhouse mirror to our everyday life. This is a bulls**t world we made, fellas.

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Oh Canada

After you watch the Canadian powerhouses of Baroness von Sketch Show and think to yourself “Dear god, this is so real” and “I’ve gotta talk about this,” do yourself a favor and think a-boot your options: Refrain from sharing your sage wisdom with any woman anywhere (believe us, she gets it). Instead, tell a fellow bro and get the mansplaining out of your system while also spreading the word about a great show.

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Dudes, that’s the deal.
Women, start reading again here:


Check out the preview episode of Baroness von Sketch Show and watch the series premiere August 2 on IFC.

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Happy Tears

Binge Don’t Cringe

Catch up on episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia.

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Photo Credit: GIFs via GIPHY

A brain can only take so much.

Every five minutes, all day, every day, ludicrously stressful headlines push our mental limits as we struggle to adapt to a reality that seems increasingly less real. What’s a mind to do when simple denial just isn’t good enough anymore?

Radical suggestion: repeal and replace. And by that we mean take all the bad news that keeps you up at night, press pause, and substitute it with some genuine (not nervous, for a change) laughter. Here are some of the issues on our mind.

Gender Inequality

Feminist bookstore owners by day, still feminist bookstore owners by night, Toni and Candace show the male gaze who’s boss. Learn about their origin story (SPOILER: there’s an epic dance battle) and see what happens when their own brand of empowerment gets out of hand.

Healthcare

From Candace’s heart attack to the rise of the rawvolution, this Portlandia episode proves that healthcare is vital.

Peaceful Protests

Too many online petitions, too little time? Get WOKE with Fred and Carrie when they learn how to protest.

What Could Have Been

Can’t say the name “Clinton” without bursting into tears? Documentary Now!’s masterfully political “The Bunker” sheds a cozy new light on the house that Bill and Hill built. Just pretend you don’t know how the story really ends.

Fake News

A healthy way to break the high-drama news cycle is to switch over to “Dronez”, which has all the thrills of ubiquitous adventure journalism without any of the customary depression.

The more you watch, the better you feel. So get started on past episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia right now at IFC.com and the IFC app.

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