Some “media professional” suggested that I change the site to that the clips would appear on the home page. Let me know what you think.
Monthly Archives: October 2011
In our last post we began comparing what I believe are the two leading contemporary satirists each at the top of their game: Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the Family Guy and American Dad, and Mike Judge, the creator of Office Space, Idiocracy and King of the Hill.
Judge, born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, grew up in Albuquerque and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in physics (who would have thought?) from the University of California, San Diego. In my opinion he is best known for Office Space, Idiocracy and King of the Hill. Interestingly enough, both Office Space and Idiocracy were not by any means box office hits.
Office Space had a cost of $10,000,000 and grossed $10,800,000. However, like MacFarlane’s Family Guy, Office Space had massive home video sales topping six million by 2006 and by 2003 Comedy Central had run the movie 35 times. Judge even made a cameo appearance in the film as Stan (complete with hairpiece and fake mustache), the manager of Chotchkie’s, a fictionalized parody of chain restaurants like Applebee’s and TGI Friday’s, but was credited as William King. In my research for this post I came across some interesting facts about Office Space:
Initech is real.
At least 5 different companies named Initech have been founded since the film’s release.
The original Office Space was a series called “Milton.”
The film was based on a series of animated shorts by Judge titled “Milton.” Fox Studios wanted the film to be based solely on the “Milton” character, but Judge wanted to have an ensemble cast.
Judge’s inspiration came from working in an office filing TPS reports.
While at work filing real TPS reports, Judge met a lonely co-worker who would rant about his bosses and how they constantly moved his desk. Judge went home and animated what would become “Milton.” Which raises the question, does art imitate life or does life imitate art?
Office Space gave birth to the red Swingline stapler.
Many people believe this, but it is not exactly true. The red Swingline stapler Milton used was made by Swingline decades ago but production had long since ceased. However, the movie’s prop department had one specially made for the film. Three years after the release of the movie, requests for the stapler were so overwhelming that Swingline put the Rio Red 747 Business Stapler into production.
Entertainment Weekly could not decide if it loved or hated the film.
Entertainment Weekly gave Office Space a C-rating but named it one of the “The 100 best films from 1983 to 2008.”
We have already reviewed Office Space here at JPFMovies as well as Idiocracy. But the tale of Idiocracy is much like that of Office Space. Unsure of how to market the film after disastrous test screenings, Fox sat on the film for over a year, before finally giving it an unusually trivial release in only 6 markets (skipping over major markets such as New York City) — by comparison a full blown promotional release covers 600 markets. Fox’s lack of marketing showed as the movie took in only $400,000 on its opening weekend, but the film has made a strong comeback in home DVD sales. In an interview Judge speculated that (in addition to Fox’s incompetent marketing department) the studio figured Idiocracy would be received like Office Space, not a money maker at the theaters but profitable in the DVD market, so why would they waste time and money promoting the movie when they could obtain the same result without spending it? To a certain extent they were right; Idiocracy has gained a cult like following similar to that of Office Space.
King of the Hill.
This weekly animated series lasted for 13 seasons that ran from January 12, 1997, to May 6, 2010, on FOX. The show centers on the Hills, a working-class family in the fictional small town of Arlen, Texas. Judge and Daniels conceived the series after a run with Judge’s Beavis and Butt-head on MTV, and the series debuted on FOX as a midseason replacement on January 12, 1997, quickly becoming a hit. The show’s popularity led worldwide syndication and episodes run every night on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. The show became one of Fox’s longest-running series, and at the time of its cancellation the second longest-running American animated series.
Hank Hill is an old fashioned, hardworking, beer-drinking man who is trying to live in a modern Texas world. His wife is opinionated, his son is a disappointment, his friends are losers, and his Father is oppressive. The show is unpretentious, following an average family and average family man Hank Hill who “sells propane and propane accessories” as the assistant manager of Strickland Propane.
When he is not selling propane, Hank mows his lawn, drinks beer, watches football games, and just stands in the alley with his friends. The Souphanousinphones are his conceited Laotian neighbors who refer to him and his family as “hillbillies” or “rednecks.” His son Bobby is in love with their daughter Connie. Bobby is arguably the funniest of the show’s characters—but another contender, in my opinion, is Dale Gribble. Bill Dauterive, Dale Gribble, and Boomhauer are Hank’s closest friends and are usually found drinking Alamo Beer in their sacred alley.
Bill Dauterive is a lonely divorced man who is not the brightest of the group. Dale is a man who suffers from paranoia due to theories of conspiracies. Boomhauer is a man who usually talks very quickly; so quickly it is difficult to understand what he is saying, though the guys can understand him quite well. Throughout the years, Hank has faced many problems caused by them pushing the limits of their friendship.
Hank’s wife Peggy claims to be extremely bright, but that is a running gag. For instance she claims that she knows Spanish, but she pronounces the words the wrong way (such as espanol instead of español). She is a three time substitute teacher of the year award recipient (and she never lets you forget it) and when she is not at school she tries to show her (non-existent) intelligence by doing things like starting a business or selling real estate, all of which flop.
There are other characters who deserve recognition but I would be writing for a week if I mentioned them all. Needless to say, I am a King of the Hill fan and have collected all 13 seasons either electronically or on DVD.
Where does this leave us? Well, in my opinion, there is a clear winner: Mike Judge. Between the cult classics of Office Space and Idiocracy and a 13 season animated series he clearly comes out ahead. He exhibits versatility by writing and directing films and TV shows as well as being an excellent animator. This guy with a physics degree really has a sharp satirical edge making his work a cut above MacFarlane’s—and I am a connoisseur of satire. I invite your thoughts on the question. Now you know where I come down on this question: Judge.
Do you know what else I can’t believe? Not only did My Fair Lady slide into review number 150, but according to the website stats it is currently the most read post! I am debating serious issues here like MacFarlane vs Judge and the treacherous trio are holding at number one–for now–just remember revenge is a dish best served cold!
The way I see it there are two contemporaries that are at the forefront of satire: Seth MacFarlane and Mike Judge. Judge of course is the creator of such masterpieces as Office Space, Idiocracy and King of the Hill versus McFarlane the creator of Family Guy and American Dad. Perhaps we are splitting hairs here but I think the question needs to be looked at and of course, there is no right or wrong answers, just our opinions. Naturally, my opinion will carry more weight but that is a topic for later.
Let’s start with McFarlane. His original claim to fame was the animated edgy TV show The Family Guy. The Family Guy has an interesting story because it started off on Fox but shortly after the third season aired in 2001, Fox canceled the series and it was difficult to find networks that were interested; the Cartoon Network eventually bought it and the Family Guy appeared in reruns on Adult Swim in April of 2003, immediately becoming the block’s top-rated program, dominating late night viewing in its time period and increased viewership by 239%. The complete first and second seasons were released on DVD the same week as the show premiered on Adult Swim, and the show became a cult phenomenon, selling 400,000 copies within one month and reached 2.2 million copies overall becoming the best-selling television DVD of 2003 and the second highest-selling television DVD ever, behind the first season of Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show. The third season DVD release also sold more than a million copies. Fox had realized it had made a mistake based on the show’s popularity in DVD sales and reruns thus rekindling their interest and ordered 35 new episodes of Family Guy making the first TV show comeback based on DVD sales. The show is now entering its 10th season and is remaining relatively fresh in its content and humor. Its unique style of humor is based on the filmmaking technique of cutaways, which occur in the majority of Family Guy episodes and satirize current and past cultural and political icons.
The series centers on the Griffins, a dysfunctional family consisting of parents Peter and Lois; their children Meg, Chris, and Stewie; and their anthropomorphic pet dog Brian. The show is set in the fictional city of Quahog, Rhode Island, and exhibits much of its humor in the form of cutaway gags that often lampoon American culture.
The family Guy is not without its critics. Many activist groups often complain that the episodes get a little too edgy or tasteless for their beliefs. Obviously, their complaints have fallen on deaf ears (like they should have) as the show continues to be a success without changing its theme or modus operandi.
McFarlane’s next big success was the show American Dad. American Dad follows the events of CIA agent Stan Smith and his family and unlike Family Guy, American Dad does not contain cutaway gags, but relies more on situational humor and non-sequiturs—thus showing some versatility in McFarlane’s repertoire. American Dad does not have quite the interesting history that the Family Guy does and is more traditional. American Dad was officially renewed for a seventh season, bringing the series through 2011–12.
American Dad centers on the domestic life of its nominal title character, Stan Smith, a staunchly conservative, Republican, CIA agent and self-proclaimed patriot. He is married to Francine Smith, a ditzy housewife who is trying to make up for a wild youth. Their two children are Hayley, a liberal college-aged activist who Stan joneses about often, and Steve, a nerdy high schooler who can never really measure up to the high standards in place for him. The Smith family is also in possession of two bizarre nonhumans — Roger, a disguise wearing escaped alien from Area 51 whom Stan is covertly housing in defiance of his employer due to the fact that Stan owes Roger a “life debt” (until he saves Roger’s life and then admits he likes Roger), and Klaus, an anthropomorphic goldfish that the CIA implanted with the brain of an East German Olympic ski jumper, who seems to have a thing for Francine.
The Smith family resides on 43 Cherry Street, in the fictional community of Langley Falls, Virginia in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The town name is a composite of Langley and Great Falls, two unincorporated communities located in Fairfax County.
Plots center on the misadventures of various characters in their respective idioms. Recurring themes include Stan’s desire to see Steve mature properly, Roger’s rampant alcohol abuse, disguises and personalities and desires to establish a life outside of the house, Francine’s desire of breaking out of an overly structured lifestyle, Hayley’s desire to rebel against her father’s politics, and Steve’s desire to finally become one of the cool kids and “get some boob.” Stan’s conservatism is treated as buffoonish and self-deprecating.
No doubt about it, in my opinion American Dad is a great show, in particular I love Roger’s multiple disguises and personalities as he tries to interact with the outside world with a hefty dose of booze to lubricate the social wheels. Here is my favorite episode in its entirety–Enjoy!
Next time we’ll take a look at Mike Judge another satirical icon of our day.
I can’t believe I announced that the next review was JPFmovies’ 150th review and I got back doored with My Fair Lady!
There is treachery afoot! It is clear to me now how I was sandbagged by two girls (8 & 13 years old) and their mother. Conveniently when someone who shall remain nameless (Bonnie) was posting the My Fair Lady review, she obviously stumbled upon the counter showing that JPFMovies was on its 149th review and, after claiming she quote “published it,” after I announced our 150th review extravaganza, all of a sudden, My Fair Lady appeared in the “draft but unpublished” section of the site. Naturally, it was published and became by default review number 150.
Of course, these three fine ladies are feigning ignorance, claiming, among other things, that they just didn’t know that it was not published or how to publish it correctly. I find that hard to believe considering that one of the three has several websites on which she works and is a professional blogger. I have no doubt that the three conspired against JPFMovies to slip My Fair Lady into the prime slot of review number 150. The question is, what can I do about it? Answer: nothing. We will just have to keep a more vigilant eye on the behind the scenes production here at JPFMovies.
I still can’t believe I got sandbagged by those three girls.
–A Defeated JPFMovies
Guest reviewers Emma (age 13) and Sally (age 8) have agreed to provide this review of the Audrey Hepburn (with singing by Julie Andrews) and Rex Harrison classic My Fair Lady in interview format. For those philistines who may not have seen this film, it is a remake of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, about a British professor of phonetics who makes a bet that he can transform a flower girl with an atrocious accent into a duchess suitable for presentation at an Embassy ball.
Emma and Sally have chosen their favorite scenes, three of which are clipped below.
How did you like this movie?
Sally: It was funny and it didn’t have a lot of kissing.
Emma: It was weird.
Would you watch it again if you had the chance?
Sally: I gave a definite answer!
Who was your favorite character?
What did you think of Henry Higgins’ attitudes toward women?
Sally: Kind of cruel.
What did you think of Henry Higgins’ teaching methods?
Sally: Bad. Very bad. He put marbles in her mouth and when she swallowed one he said he had plenty more.
What did you think when Henry Higgins’ mother commented, “Henry! What a disagreeable surprise”?
Sally (laughing): It was so funny!
Emma: Well, it was funny.
Is it true in our society that how you talk affects how people treat you?
Sally: Not at all. Definitely not at all.
Emma: Only grammar teachers.
Sally: Oh, yeah. But that doesn’t really affect how they treat you.
Emma: Well, they might scold you or correct you.
Did you like how Eliza talked better at the beginning or end of the movie?
Emma: At the beginning.
Sally: Both, they’re equally good — actually, the beginning was funnier.
Which was better, Cinderella’s ball or My Fair Lady’s ball?
Sally: My Fair Lady‘s ball.
Emma: My Fair Lady‘s ball.
Would you rather watch this movie or an episode of King of the Hill?
Emma: That depends. What episode?
Sally: That’s a cruel question! They’re equally good!
Should JPFMovies give this movie a rose, a rosebud, or…?
Sally: A rose because it’s the best.
Emma: A rose.
Sally (singing): A rose a rose a rose, a rose!
What rating do you think JPFMovies would give this movie?
Sally: Well, he didn’t want to watch it, so obviously he wouldn’t like it.
Emma: Has he even seen it? I don’t know.
Emma (upon reading the review): What! We never agreed to provide this review!
Sally: We did not agree to provide information for this review! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!