"Did Chuck have AIDS?" someone off camera asks Rufus as he's storming out of frame. The setup is a candid interview, maybe for a reality show, maybe for a Maury-like talk show, and Rufus, a pastor, is refusing to answer questions about the man his wife caught him cheating with chapters and chapters ago in R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet saga.
Remember how "Trapped in the Closet" ended five years ago? Me neither. I barely remember what happened at all, but whatever, it's back — on Nov. 23, IFC will broadcast a bunch of new chapters. R. Kelly has released the first of the new batch, Chapter 23, in advance. I know that the series quickly unraveled into goofiness, revealing itself as intentional camp instead of the more engaging ambiguous strain of the sensibility. It went from "Is it or isn't it?" to, "Oh...it is" way too fast.
Sometimes Portlandia delivers biting social satire of about how lame it is to be cool and sometimes it serves up something a little more absurd. On tonight's episode, Fred and Carrie discover that the key to music stardom is including a cat in their band, which leads to them being taken hostage by guest star Kristin Wiig.
The first sketch of IFC's Portlandia was about how Portland, Oregon is stuck in the 1990's. Now that the series is right in the middle of its second season, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are revising that thesis: Portland is actually stuck in the 1890's, what with the microbrews, the beards, and the general aesthetic of lumberjack chic. Portlandia does a great job of critiquing the posturing that is meant to pass as cool and this sketch really nails it. It also includes one of the series' great lines when Carrie realizes what's happening in Portland and declares, "it's like if President McKinley was never assassinated."
Joel just heard that all it takes to be called an "independent film" is to not be financed by a major Hollywood studio. So, here's one of the many films by Joel that now count towards a possible Spirit Award.
Old-school journo Pete Hamill and Bill Kristol got together for a little argument, filmed by IFC's new Gideon Yago-hosted thing The IFC Media Project. As Bill Kristol is a sad joke and Pete Hamill is a legend, it was not really a fair fight. The topic, thankfully, allowed Bill to shill for his miserable lost war instead of having to defend Sarah Palin again. Hamill still schooled him. Kristol doesn't really think Americans need to see the "blood" and "coffins" that war creates, that way we can all feel much better about ourselves.
Since "Young American Bodies" has the same theme as every other "serious" web show, I figured this series about several young people's romance and sex lives would be trash, only this time with some naked shots. But it turns out the show on IFC.com (which first ran on Nerve.com) is good honest filmmaking. Like most mumblecore the dialog may seem pedestrian, but that's part of the refreshing realism: no one's overacting, none of the characters are hotshot rockstars or heiresses, nothing is "aspirational" or "viral," and I find myself actually wanting to watch the whole story. Below is the second episode, which begins with a dangling dick and ends in a smirk-worthy sad-sack moment.