Hump: Let me preface this by saying I do not actually want to sleep with a member of the Insane Clown Posse (in case you thought I was being super literal about this category each week, which I’m really not). I just have an odd fascination with the hip- hop duo who perform in wicked clown makeup that led to an entire subculture of fandom, the Juggalos (and Juggalettes). Nothing intrigues me more than the annual Gathering of the Juggalos. There are even special dating sites for Juggalos to meet Juggalettes. Imagine meeting someone who seemed totally mainstream, but then you found out he or she spends weekends thrashing at concerts in scary clown makeup? I would have sooooo many questions for that person.
What’s weird is that Insane Clown Posse’s music is so bizarre, and the lyrics are so like, “Are they for real?” (sample: “Water, fire, air, and dirt. F*cking magnets, how do they work?”) that it’s hard to tell if people are drawn to Juggalo culture because they’re fans of ICP’s musical oeuvre, or they just like scary clown makeup. Regardless, I love hearing the actual members of Insane Clown Posse talk because they really seem to think things like magnets work because of a divine miracle, not scientific poles. I’d make a joke here about how they must have gone to clown college, but it would be too on-the-nose and insulting to what really happens at clown college (read: serious circus training).
And now, to make things even better, ICP has a new show on Fuse inspired by another underground classic, Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s the best combination of weird subgenre hits ever. The duo sits down with a few of their friends (who are equally eccentric) to watch and comment on music videos, Internet clips, and other things. If you tried to play a drinking game where you guess if they’ve heard of a clip, person, or topic before seeing a video, you’d end up very, very drunk. The gaps in their knowledge are so random and unpredictable that it’s almost like they spend their days performing in front of thousands of screaming fans wearing freaky clown makeup or something.
Marry: I meant to recommend this one like, months ago, but since she was such a big deal at Comic-Con last weekend, I feel like I should put in a plug for BBC America’s Orphan Black, which is now on demand. Tatiana Maslany is totally badass and handles playing almost 10 different characters — at times opposite herself, which means she has to act and respond to empty space where she’ll be digitally imposed later — like a boss.
Kill: Have you seen The Room? If not, here’s all you need to know: It’s known as the “worst movie ever made,” and is, in fact, so terrible that it’s become a cult classic people watch in Rocky Horror Picture Show-style, audience-participation screenings. What makes it so bad? For starters, all of the dialogue sounds like it was translated from some mystery language into English, then back into another language, and then to English again. Random plot lines are started and never finished. The sex scenes would make anyone consider celibacy. Although it’s their job, the actors all forgot how to act like human beings once a camera was pointed at them. Also, everyone’s emotional range has exactly two poles: weirdly calm and irrationally angry.
Why am I going on and on about The Room? First of all, because it’s so unbelievably bad that it’s amazing. But what I’m really getting at here is the fact that this week, ABC Family debuted The Room of reality shows. Actually, I’m still not sure if The Vineyard is a reality show — different sources (including press releases from the network itself) refer to it as a “docu-series” and an “unscripted drama.”
I think it’s sort of a weird combination of The Hills-like reality and a typical TV drama. The characters on the show are played by “real” people, not actors, and they don’t have pre-written lines to learn before shooting. Instead, producers gave the people they cast vague story arcs based on their appearances and archetypes (ex: the hot new girl everyone wants, the townie, the rich girl), and the “real people” then try to act out the assigned stories as their “characters.” It’s the world’s saddest attempt at improvised drama.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. At all. Much like The Room, everyone freezes up and forgets how to interact normally with other human beings the second they’re on camera. Everything feels so unnatural and forced. “Conversations” involve questions about key plot points (“Are you going to that party later? Do you think that guy you hate because he looked at that other girl that one time will be there? What are you gonna do when you see him?”). Just like in The Room, everyone’s emotions range from almost comatose to extremely angry and threatening, with absolutely no middle ground.
A great example of the fake drama you’ll see on The Vineyard happened when some other girl whose name I forgot asks Katie, the Lauren Conrad of the series, what the deal is with her and Lou, an “old friend” she “hasn’t seen in three years.” Whether or not the “real” Katie knew “real” Lou in “real” life is questionable, but it’s clear he was placed in the house in which they all live (you know, just like real life, where you live with a bunch of strangers and are filmed all the time) for the two of them to get it on.
Still, Katie starts screaming about how the girl who thinks it’s on between her and Lou needs to step the eff off. Really, a simple “I have a boyfriend of four years. I will not be hooking up with Lou this summer. You and I met one day ago. You do not know me” would have sufficed. Or even “I’m going to pretend to get mad at you about this, but only because you’re giving away the big reveal, which Lou and I are working so hard to carefully build way too early in the season.” Either one — said in a calm tone of voice — would work just fine. There’s no need to yell, real-fake-person Katie.
Photo: Courtesy of Fuse TV; Photo: Courtesy of Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA; Photo: Courtesy of Katie Tardif/ABC Family