Friday, March 11, 2016


I'm not a fan of over-analyzing comedy to the point where it becomes unfunny (kinda like what journalists have done with Louis CK's material) but the "Roommates" episode of Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories is an exception as it digs a little deeper and explores the idea of "the hipster" in a way most shows/movies haven't...

The term “hipster” has become one of the most misused (and overused) words to describe certain types of people. Nowadays anything slightly different or “alternative” is considered hipstery (shit, I’ve even been called a hipster a few times in my life). I’m not even going to try and give an example of what I think a hipster is. It’s 2016. You guys can probably use your imagination and come up with a quick generic description. I’ve witnessed friends & acquaintances use the term hipster to categorize every type of person ranging from goth to frat boy. See what I mean? It's gotten out of hand. What do either of those demographics have to do with hipsters? Even when I do come across an accurate description of someone/something that is a “hipster” (and they absolutely do exist), I still roll my eyes in cynicism. I sometimes scroll & read various status updates on my social media feeds about how much hipsters suck, and, without even knowing what's being referenced, I think to myself – “the people you’re complaining about right now probably aren't even hipsters”. Having a mustache and taking up residence in Williamsburg, Bushwick & Park Slope doesn’t equate being a hipster. But according to some people that seems to be the only requirement.
And I don’t want this to come off like I’m defending “hipsters” either. A lot of them do suck for various reasons ranging from entitlement & passive racism to the fact that I never know if they're being genuine or ironic. I’m just a little jaded towards folks who complain about them.

I think the main reason I love Rick Alverson’s The Comedy so much is because although I’m aware the entire film isn't just about “hipsters”, a nice chunk of it is firing shots at, or at least shining a spotlight, on people who could very well be described as such (the wiffle ball scene and all the house party scenes hammer this home to me). Up until a few months ago I didn’t think there’d be another film or show that would come close to what The Comedy did until I started watching Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories (at the suggestion of The Pink Smoke co-founder/PINNLAND EMPIRE contributor Chris Funderberg).

"Roommates" is, in my opinion, one of best, most layered looks in to the world of hipsters/people who think they know what hipsters are (and often times they don’t). It definitely travels down the path that Alverson’s The Comedy started (both The Comedy & T&E Bedtime Stories feature a lot of the same actors). "Roommates” is the story of "Franklin” (Tim Heidecker) & "Tony” (Eric Werheim) - two aspiring actors/performance artists/video bloggers who live together in Los Angeles (Tony also works as a Barista while Franklin moonlights as a “high-end” bartender). All is well between the two roommates until they find themselves at odds when Tony starts up a kinky sexual relationship with Franklin's mom.

At first glance a lot of people might think Tim Heidecker & Eric Werheim are making fun of hipsters. Not only are Franklin & Tony’s various occupations stereotypical hipster jobs (blogger, barista, performance artist), but they also sport a particular style of facial hair, dress semi-ironically/semi-fashionable, and they speak/communicate in nonstop semi-quirky one-liners. 
But what makes this episode so brilliant is that Tim & Eric are really making fun of the (sometimes inaccurate) idea that people have about hipsters. Sure, there are some light jabs at actual hipsters, but at the end of the day they’re taking it a step further by making fun of people who make fun of what they think hipsters are. And there’s an additional layer to all of this because I don’t think a lot of people who are critical of “hipsters” will even get that they’re the ones kind of being made fun of here. Not to discredit the intelligence of some folks but I don’t think everyone gets what Tim & Eric did here. For example, any piece of writing I’ve found on this particular episode (or the series in general) doesn’t go away any further than; “Tim & Eric make fun of hipster culture”. But “hipsters” (whatever that even means at this point) make up a large majority of the Tim & Eric fanbase. Those guys are known to push buttons & be off-putting  but they know where their bread is buttered. They don’t want to completely alienate and full out make fun of the people that essentially put money in their pockets.

Episode one of T&E’s Bedtime stories (“Holes”) is by far my personal favorite but Roommates is definitely worthy of the most analysis & discussion beyond “this is hilarious”. If you have a Hulu+ account I highly recommend watching this episode (and the entire show) even if you aren't a Tim & Eric fan.


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