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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.

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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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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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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…

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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.

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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-Craft

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?”

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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).

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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.

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