BLOWBACK: SEASON ONE: The Rise of Slippy Jim


(view more excerpts on YOUTUBE)

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BLOWBACK was the most resonant early document of the TeamFILO positive-disruption technique. It remains a jarring capture of of their methods at a moment of millenial madness.

From the original press release: "BLOWBACK: Season One is a seven-part series featuring never-before-seen footage of the September 11th attacks as covered by Dan Fogleberg, (not the singer, the other guy). The film uses comedy to puncture the sanctimony surrounding this seminal event, as well spinning a more obscure yarn: the rise and demise of Slippy Jim Aplomb, the preeminent current-events bard of our time. Our two characters seize on 9/11 in polar ways: for Fogleberg, it becomes a botched opportunity to snag the journalistic limelight, while Slippy seizes the moment to convert the rage of the nation into an anthem; a chant for the bereaved."

The first two episodes of BLOWBACK are available on DVD. The Disc is packed with bonus material, including the music video for Slippy's late career hit, "Weeny Hotel," and the extended cut of the Season One teaser.

Further synopsis: The seven episodes follow our characters through Slippy's forced tenure at the 1000 Islands homo-fascist Franzia camp, to Slippy's escape and meteoritic rise on the streets of Stardom City as a political-absurdist jingle master.   His pop success and inevitable druggy decline is covered by Dan Fogelberg on his On the Ball entertainment show, where he has been relegated after messianic missteps in his coverage of 9/11. Slippy's attempt to assassinate Mayor McCheese provokes the introduction of another character, jet-setting fonduist Glen Merengue, who has been flown in from his retreat on the Isle of Stromboli to try to put the Mayor together again. Slippy eludes capture after the incident, and Fogelberg signs on for an unforgettable pursuit, complete with meta-fight dance-offs in front of some of Chicago's most notable architecture. Their final showdown, atop the roof of Slippy's hideout in an old candy factory, gives Dan and Slippy every narrative reason to pull out all the stops, and they wield apple cider vinegar and mayonnaise (respectively) with blockbuster abandon.

(This blurb's "fullness" is indicative of the chunky verbal exposition that's all over the series. It is really a   hallmark (for better or worse) of the films' dense, piss-your-pants attack.)



Production of BLOWBACK began as a byproduct of an early FILO charter: to practice friendly interventions (as in Friendly Intervention Liberation Organization), or positive disruptions, of friends lives, particularly those on mainstream roads. A FILO disruption was meant to foster healthy regression to the cozy junk food sleepover imagination-fest of preadolescence we all get nostalgic goosebumps about as Fall rolls around.

Disruption of mainstream life-paths was not meant as an implicit criticism of "solid" choices in favor of some nonconformist cliche; it is just an acknowledgement that some mainstream choices for young adults today are empty of joy and dignity. With the shrinking of the craftsman class and manufacturing options, a young guy who would once be happy making things for a living sits in a gray box on a bad chair with triscuit bits caught in the cushion. He's in the cubicle grid of some call center sadly dialing in a zap of headache and hang-up to somebody in their home; in other words, he's not happy, and the guy who picks up the phone at home is suddenly and briefly unhappy. So an honest answer for this guy to give when somebody asks "What do you do?" is "I manufacture pinpricks of aggravation."


Blowback:SEASON ONE continues to bleed into the world in reluctant obscure droplets. Accolades from hermit home-schooled weirdos pile up.

The FILO disruption process has waned as a means of official expression. Sentimentality for "making things" and the craftsman class has given way to obsessions with throwing stuff out, mulching, and better production values. So we don't care about rescuing guys from their ruts anymore. Also, these involuntary actors may be impractical for creating tight pictures.