AUSTIN — The second day of shenanigans left many SXSW attendees (yours truly included) a little more bleary-eyed than we might have wanted to be – thanks, daylight saving – but good golly, the perks made it all worth the lack of sleep.
For those of you who are uninitiated, the first half of the SXSW festival (or conference? I still don’t know what the hell this week is) is dedicated to interactive media, and even the comedy events hew closely to that technological paradigm. Two examples from yesterday: I was lucky enough to attend a Q&A hosted by Samsung Galaxy with Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz and actors Will Arnett and Jeffrey Tambor, who spilled a few details on the much-anticipated fourth season of the show, to air on Netflix this spring. Although the trio hedged on whether or not a movie would ultimately be filmed (as always!), citing difficult logistics with studios, Arnett did mention that, although the script is not yet written, “There is a bigger story there” that extends beyond the series.
Much of the discussion centered on the changing mediascape of television that has affected Arrested Development since day one. According to Arnett, the key demographic for the show are those people who were previously unaccounted for by ratings — young, tech-savvy viewers who watch shows on computers and phones –- so moving to Netflix was only natural. Following the discussion, the crowd collectively died (in a good way, y’all, don’t worry!) because Mitch had brought two clips from season four to screen for us! Although the show’s production halted seven years ago, the characters’ rapport has literally not changed one bit. Gob and Michael: antagonistic bros until the end.
And then, in typical SXSW fashion, the guys hung around to play Bingo with a crowd of Samsung Galaxy users and journalists. Because that is a normal activity for 30-something tech wonks, right? Oh hell, it was fun, except for the fact that I never won. I’ll be holding a grudge for a while, Mitch… mark my words.
But my day of Bluths didn’t end there! Following the Arrested Development-Bingo morning I meandered over to a panel on JASH, a new comedy collective on YouTube led by Daniel Kellison and featuring original content from Michael Cera (George Michael!), Sarah Silverman, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim and Reggie Watts. The six launched the channel at SXSW this year and you can now see their work at youtube.com/JASH.
And, unsurprisingly, new media was the name of the game at this panel discussion. Silverman noted that because the artists have full creative autonomy – no studio hoops to jump through – they could produce better quality, more off-the-wall work. “It’s nice to work on JASH because you can take risks and fail,” she explained.
As for what JASH means, we’ll probably never know. Cera joked that the name stood for “Just a Simple Horse,” and the site actually only features videos of this one horse. I’d buy that idea for a dollar. Horses are so majestic.