The Great Developmental Professor Elemental

This article ties in to a podcast I recorded with Paul Alborough (Professor Elemental), available here.

In our last podcast, we spoke to David Liebe Hart. In that particular case, we had a personality on our hands who’s very difficult to detach from his character. The flip-side of that is a creative whose use of a character is acutely deliberate. That’s precisely the bill that Paul Alborough, best known for his popular Professor Elemental alter-ego, fits in spades. However, Alborough is a vast talent regardless of such construction. He calls to mind an important truth; something we’re all guilty of in an age of information.…   [continue reading]

The Last Joke of the Scene: Sitcoms and Sincerity

Television imitates life. The fact that it’s only an imitation is clearer in a sitcom than any other genre. If you distil TV down to its most basic elements — and then simplify each element further — you’re left with the sitcom.

Many sitcoms break the formula, but the most popular (and sometimes older) shows don’t. The Big Bang Theory, Full House, That 70s Show. Even newer releases like The Ranch. They are in the usual form of television but predigested and tidied up to the point where any mystery, crisis, tension or deeper meaning is diffused almost instantaneously, whether that’s at the end of the episode, or at the end of a scene.…   [continue reading]

The Best Kept Secrets of British Comedy

The world of British comedy is a rabbit hole you can lose yourself in for life.  Just following a list of long-gone essentials would keep you busy with viewing for some time.  That doesn’t even mention the constant stream of new arrivals who, though watered down, keep us restocked year after year.  There’s an even bigger wellspring of obscurity beyond the surface too, where the fourth wall is of no consequence.  Editspotters, as they call themselves, have made it their solemn duty to explore this abundant vein of intrigue.

Considered an important part in the fight against bullshit and political correctness, editspotting keeps a keen eye on the divine hand behind our much beloved national comedies.  …   [continue reading]

Entertainment (2015)

Hear the writers discuss this subject on the Secret Cave Podcast!

When Entertainment premiered at 2015’s Sundance Film Festival, the response it garnered was somewhat predictable.  Numerous walkouts peppered its first showing, indicative of its uncomfortable confrontation.  Certainly a test of patience, it’s a work that demands significant effort on the part of the audience.  However, this is a recurring feature of the creatives involved: director and writer Rick Alverson, star and writer Gregg Turkington and writer Tim Heidecker.  It’s easy to take against their approach, labelling it as pretentious and lazy.  The sad truth is, that would be all too often accurate of others.  …   [continue reading]