No Happy Endings: The Lo-fi Brilliance of ‘Spaced’


One night, Tim (Simon Pegg), Daisy (Jessica Stevenson) and Brian (Mark Heap) spend the evening watching the Star Wars Trilogy. As the credits roll on Return of the Jedi (1983), Tim, moved to tears by the films, explains to Brian that the events of the entire trilogy can be attributed to the actions of one minor character: the gunner on the Star Destroyer in the first film. Inspired by this new information, Brian then expounds on Chaos Theory, “the notion that reality as we know it—past, present, future—is in fact a mathematically predictable preordained system,” connecting it to the idea of fate in the Star Wars films. Tim, Daisy, and Brian pause to reflect on the heady concept before Tim, wide-eyed and excited, realizes that he has some “fuckin Jaffa Cakes in [his] coat pocket!” They exclaim in joy and then debate who has to get up from the couch to go retrieve them.

It’s a scene that feels so eerily familiar to my life even though it’s from the late-90s UK show Spaced, created by Pegg and Stevenson and directed by Edgar Wright.


Empathy, World-Building, and Loneliness: A Critical Look At Louie’s Third Season

By all standards, 2012 has been a banner year for Louis C.K. He won two Emmys for both his critically acclaimed show Louie and his comedy special Live at the Beacon Theatre, which was produced and sold exclusively by C.K. through his website. The DIY success of Beacon Theatre has prompted other comedians, such as Jim Gaffigan, Aziz Ansari, and Rob Delaney, to release their own specials under the same business model. And, most recently, C.K. used his clout to sell comedian Tig Notaro’s widely acclaimed set at the Largo comedy club, recorded just a day after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This year solidified Louis C.K.’s ascent to America’s foremost comedic voice becoming widely recognized by the culture as one of the most innovative, unique voices working today.


Tapes Didn’t Go Away, You Did: Pitchfork Music Festival and Challenging Independent Identity

It is Friday afternoon and I’m standing silently alongside many large groups waiting impatiently for the Green Line train to take us to the Pitchfork Music Festival. The scene is nothing new for people who annually attend the festival in Chicago’s Union Park: clusters of predominantly white, flannel-wearing men with their hands in their pockets excitedly muttering amongst each other about the acts they want to see; women arguing with their respective partners about whom was supposed to buy cigarettes and bring the tickets; two guys in matching Minor Threat t-shirts scoffing at the crowd who, to them, don’t seem like the real Godspeed You! Black Emperor fans they were looking for; nervous looking people crouching to check if their contraband is well hidden in their backpacks; and all while the regular Green Line patrons look on confused as if aliens had dropped bunches of disaffected hipsters from the sky. One of these patrons rolls their eyes at someone who loudly remarks “I’ve never even heard of this El Line!” as if to say, “this happens every year.


Louis and Louie: Masculinity, Continuity, and the Thin Line Between Fact and Fiction

In the last few years, Louis C.K. has slowly advanced his claim as a modern philosopher masked as a comedian. He is one of the foremost artists of our generation, and his transformation from a “comic’s comic” to elder statesman—joining the ranks of George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Bill Hicks—has been incredibly exciting to watch as a longtime fan of C.K. and comedy. His material succeeds in being both honest to his experience and profound on a cosmic level, and C.K. as an individual has defined a new independent spirit, working on the edges of what is mainstream to create innovative art.

Since 2009, Louis has independently produced, written, and directed all of his projects and in an attempt to redefine standard Hollywood business practices in the digital era, released his last stand-up special, Live at the Beacon Theatre, directly to fans through C.K.’s website for a modest fee of $5.00. The experiment netted him more than $1 million, over 80% of which he gave away to charity and his staff. Since then, it seems like Louis has decided to release everything he creates through his website, recently announcing that it was the only place to buy tickets for his upcoming national tour, effectively removing the burden of engaging with dubious ticket distribution companies like Ticketmaster.


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