Made by smart, talented comedy people and starring smart, talented comedy people, They Came Together is a dumb movie. It's built on dumb ideas and executed as dumbly as possible, and that's the point. Slickly directly by David Wain and starring Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, They Came Together is a self-assuredly dumb parody of the romantic comedy, intent on skewering the genre's worst instincts mainly by reproducing them in a biting tone dripping with mockery. To be clear, this movie doesn't give romcoms a good-natured roasting — it's straight up mean. Nearly every scene features a clever riff on the familiar beats of a romcom formula, and even when Wain's absurdist sensibility closest [...]
Something like a little less than one month ago, Patton Oswalt began to tweet his effusive praise of a show very few people had heard of. Like a virus, more and more people on Twitter began to speak the world of it, suddenly discovering that the half hour after Girls Sunday nights on HBO wasn't a test pattern, a talk show talking about Girls that just ends up being a conversation about Lena Dunham, or even a classic episode of Arli$$. Instead, they found a challenging, uncomfortable, intelligent, incredibly nuanced work that wasn't The Wire that is categorized as a "comedy," and featured a bunch of talented comedic actors. [...]
In the hierarchy of artistic endeavors comedy occupies a hazy, confused space. The enthusiasm comedians are capable of generating among the general public is considerable but often fleeting; they seem unjustly deficient at inspiring the kind of long term devotion more commonly reserved for their peers in music and film. It was precisely this frustrating divide that drove Patton Oswalt to launch his Comedians of Comedy tour in 2004, a string of stand-up dates that circumvented the two-drink minimum drudgery of conventional comedy clubs in favor of smaller, hipper venues. “These are the kind of people that will support indie rock bands — for twenty years they’ll follow a [...]
Last month at SXSW, HBO screened the first three episodes of Lena Dunham’s new show, Girls, to a packed house. For SXSW, it was an opportunity to showcase more television writing, but it also marked the return of festival progeny, as Dunham had premiered her first two features there, winning the narrative jury prize in 2010 for her film, Tiny Furniture.
The buzz around Tiny Furniture attracted HBO and the attention of one Judd Apatow, who signed on to executive produce Dunham’s premium cable series. Fast forward two years and Dunham is standing on Austin’s Paramount Theater stage, doing some combination of glowing and blushing after the [...]
In the spirit of the heroes of this cartoon, I feel it’s only proper to start this off with a five word review: the show does not suck. But if you want to know more about the much-anticipated premiere of Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head, read on.
I went in to the first new episode of Beavis and Butt-Head with a nagging feeling that something would be off. I wasn’t sure what, exactly. Maybe a small detail in the animation, a change in the voice acting, or even re-recorded theme song (the first time I watched a Married With Children on Netflix, I almost didn’t make it past the [...]