Tattoo Geeks | Geek Tattoos

Young American Bodies get tattooed

Young American BodiesWARNING: This video contains graphic scenes of *almost* attractive people having sex. Don’t watch it at work, or if your kids (or parents) are around, or if you have something better to do.

Today (yesterday?), in Young American Bodies Episode 30 (on IFC.com), Natalie (played by Nikita Word) gets a new tattoo! We’ve seen that she already has several, but it’s kinda neat (or gimmicky, see below) that they incorporated getting her latest piece into the show. Afterwards, we see her and Ben (played by creator/director Joe Swanberg) drawing silly tattoos on each other with markers as part of their foreplay. I hope some time has elapsed between the two scenes, because coloring in a freshly inked tattoo (with Sharpies, no less!) seems like a really bad idea.

The large floral rose tattoo was done by Brian Clutter of Insight Studios Metamorph Tattoo Studios in Chicago, who gets a few seconds of camera time as he works on Natalie/Nikita’s upper arm.

Do you guys watch this show? I can’t figure out if it’s genius or if it’s totally boring (or both). I must say I was initially intrigued by the descriptions I read of its (often embarrassingly) explicit sexual nature. I watched several of the 5-7 minute “webisodes,” and I was struck its honest depictions of the awkward fumblings and mumblings of 20-somethings, and the incestuous social scene of the characters was painfully familiar. I think the most interesting character is Ben; his musings and reactions to other characters are refreshingly unpredictable; he’s maybe a little precious at times, but not as pretentious as you expect him to be.

Only after I’d watched many episodes did I find out that Swanberg is one of the key players in the up-and-coming “mumblecore” scene of independent filmmakers. I think the only other mumblecore film I’d seen before this was the Andrew Bujalski‘s Funny Ha Ha, which follows the mundane misadventures of a post-college slacker girl. I liked the approach and the style of the film, but it didn’t quite go all the way for me. It might be in part due to the mostly-unscripted dialog that is characteristic of the genre; when it works, it’s great, but when it doesn’t, it really leaves you hanging.

One funny thing I noticed: in Ben’s pillow talk with his last 2 girlfriends/flings/whatever, each of the women reveals something about her acting background. I didn’t think anything of it the first time, but after the 2nd time, you’re like, “why does Ben only date girls who wanted to be actresses when they grew up? oh yeah, the actresses are ad-libbing about themselves…”

The new 3rd season of YAB seems almost entirely devoid of plot, choosing to rely its trademark dialog style and what seem to me to be cheap gimmicks (at least in the context of the show): boy-on-boy action, a boob massage, and now tattooing. Even the sex scenes aren’t as titillating; they’re more like filler. Hopefully it’s just a slow start, and some sort of conflict will set in, maybe with some of the dramatic tension of the first 2 seasons. (Oh, and bring back Casey!)

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10 responses

  1. If Funny Ha Ha didn’t quite do it for you, you may want to check out something like The Puffy Chair which seems to be a little “tighter” than some of the other mumblecore stuff.

    June 10, 2008 at 8:21 am

  2. a correction to this article. i am no longer at insight studios. you can now find me tuesday through friday, and a great group of artists at:

    Metamorph Tattoo Studios
    1456 N. Milwaukee Ave.
    Chicago
    773-384-9788
    metamorphstudios.com

    thanks for taking note.

    June 13, 2008 at 4:19 pm

  3. Josh

    Whoops! Sorry, Brian (So much for my internet research skills…); I’ve updated the post.

    Chad, I’d like to check out the Puffy Chair. As you probably know, those guys have a new one out now, but I don’t think it’s playing anywhere around here.

    Also, the new episode of YAB (#32) kinda redeemed this season for me. I guess I’m a sucker for the sappy stuff.

    June 15, 2008 at 1:41 pm

  4. Nicole Baumgarten

    Someone told me about this show, and I watched a couple of episodes, and I have to say – it totally sucked. It just seems like someone who went to art school decided to make naked videos to get attention. In fact, all of the “actors” seem like they wanted to be in it for attention. The whole Ben and Natalie drawing on each other scene was boring, completely unnatural, and frankly – annoying.

    August 1, 2008 at 11:02 am

  5. Josh

    Yeah, for me, I want it to be good, so I keep watching in hopes that it gets better. I do think the first season is interesting (original, if nothing else). I think 5-minute webisodes are a frustrating format, though. I’d like to watch the first season uninterrupted.

    August 17, 2008 at 9:19 pm

  6. Josh

    Oh, Chad, I saw the Puffy Chair, and I liked it. I’ll see Baghead (I keep seeing ads for it and thinking they say “Baghdad”).

    August 17, 2008 at 9:21 pm

  7. Sorry to disappoint guys. Geezey. Harsh critics.

    Truly I came to Swanberg with the idea of incorporating my new tattoo into the show. While the larger story arch is planned, the details are open to what the participants would like to add. I told him I was planning on getting a new tattoo and asked if he’d be into filming it, so it was not a “gimmick” on his part.

    As for the acting thing lol, I am NOT an actor. haha. That’s a fact nor do I want to pursue acting. I’m a film nerd and actually an aspiring film maker/photographer myself. While I did do some childhood acting it was mainly due to growing up near a studio in Florida.

    YAB is a take it or leave it kinda phenomenon, like most things in life…to each their own. I was a fan of the show before I ever was in it, and have to say I’m still proud of what we’ve done.

    September 20, 2008 at 9:48 pm

  8. Josh

    Hi Nikita! It’s great to see you here on Ink Nerd even though I’m a little sheepish about the review of the show.

    BTW, I was really happy that the tattoo segment got on the show (I always like all things tattoo-related), but we only get 5 minutes per episode or whatever, and I was feeling like it was filler because the story wasn’t really progressing. If the episodes were longer, a scene like that wouldn’t seem out of place (to me).

    I guess what I was trying to say is that I AM a fan of the show, but I don’t exactly know why. In any case, you and the show’s creators should be very proud of the show; it’s definitely a phenomenon that everyone is curious about, which is more than most filmmakers can say.

    I, for one, am looking forward to season 4. Hope to see you there!

    September 25, 2008 at 8:31 am

  9. Thanks Josh! Joe will hopefully shoot season 4 sometime late this Winter and fingers crossed I’ll be back to create more controversy. Lol.

    September 28, 2008 at 10:37 pm

  10. youshouldhavepickedsomethingtotalkaboutotherthannikita

    Nikita’s name isn’t even really Nikita. She begged her parents to allow her to legally change it from Ashley to Nikita when she was a teenager because she had a falling out with her best friend of the same name. Her parents grounded her at 19 years old, while living in the apartment they paid for and secretly supported her 300lb acne ridden boyfriend, because she got her first tattoo. This girl, is by far the biggest fraud on the planet. She deserves absolutely no praise as an actress, tattoo enthusiast, or human being. The only thing she’s good at doing is acting like she has an identity, personality, or attractive body.

    If you get a chance, please enjoy laughing at the her idiotic myspace videos of her dancing around to the Russian Futurists in a bikini. Slut-tastic!

    December 18, 2008 at 12:55 pm

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