Young American Bodies get tattooed
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.
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!)