I don’t know how I missed talk of IFC’s new comedy, “Bullet in the Face,” and I’m disappointed to learn about it only because the controversy surrounding the subject material has resulted in the show — which is being described as the most violent comedy in television history — being turned into a two-night event instead of a weekly one. How could a show that airs on IFC — the cable network that has aired both Human Centipede films, for God’s sake — be so violent and controversial that it has allegedly spooked the cabler’s execs? This is why, according to Deadline:
It stars Canadian actor Max Williams as Gunter Vogler, a brutally psychopathic, deliriously misogynistic German assassin-turned-cop. The character is utterly without conscience or filter, shooting people indiscriminately and accompanying it with radically offensive invective. The blood spurts freely and often. Eric Roberts and Eddie Izzard co-star as wacko mob bosses. But here is the kind of stuff that may have spooked IFC into turning Bullet into a two-night event rather than a weekly series: We see Gunter in a church using a crucifix as a backscratcher and casually lumping former VP Dick Cheney with Hitler and Stalin in conversation. He mows down basketball players on a court as if taking target practice. It isn’t difficult to see watchdog groups taking offense at the material and using it to demonize IFC.
Well, of course Watchdog Groups will demonize it. Watchdog Groups are like the marketing arm of IFC; the more fuss they make about “the most violent comedy ever,” a show that features people being shot in the face, the more viewers will likely turn out. But IFC does want to at least focus the controversy into a two-day window instead of dragging it out over six weeks. Initially, the show was supposed to be six half-hour episodes aired weekly, but now it will be aired in two one-and-a-half hour blocks on August 16th and 17th (I’ve already marked my calendar). Despite the scheduling shift, IFC is apparently standing behind it. In fact, here’s my favorite part of the Deadline post:
“Bullet In The Face” comes from the mind of creator-exec producer Alan Spencer, the mastermind behind the 1980s ABC classic “Sledge Hammer!” … Admits Spencer: “IFC came to me about developing a half-hour action comedy and it somehow turned into the most violent sitcom ever made. But the IFC team has been very supportive. One episode featured beheadings and their only note was that the heads be tastefully handled.” He adds that the show “did make some people nervous, but mostly over how to position it. A show where people get shot in the face multiple times isn’t compatible with repeats of Malcolm in the Middle.”
How do you tastefully approach a beheading, anyway? I’m not sure exactly what that means, but based on what we know about the show now, it probably just means not to play dodgeball with the decapitated heads.
Man, I am so in.