It was meant to be a growing season for Tim Heidecker on From cinema to cinema. With subscriptions funded by the HEI network and backed by his beloved wife Toni, Heidecker unveiled one formidable plan after another – there was Hei Points, which Heidecker described as “the US dollar 2.0”, Hei-lot Season, in which his various friends run pilots on the network, and perhaps the grandest of all, the Hei Ranch, which at the moment is 25 acres of sand but which, after a 10-year plan, will be a fully functional society.
Over time, Tim’s plans are shattered. By the season finale, ostensibly a review of American Underdog: The Story of Kurt Warner, Tim is a rambling mess barely able to put two words together. Even the only light in his life, a recent appearance by his late doctor, whom Tim is convinced is an angel, has stopped visiting him.
Brick By Brick, On the cinema viewers watch Tim’s life come apart for reasons that are both within and beyond his control. It’s a fall that is only matched by another performance this year: Jeremy Strong’s Kendall Roy on Succession.
Heidecker laughed at the varieties of masculinity on On the cinema for years now, oscillating between being a vindictive king like Brian Cox’s Logan Roy and a just, mad, eternal loser like Kendall. Between the two shows, a vicious look at the masculinity at the heart of the American media emerges.
At first glance, the shows may not have much in common. Succession is the definition of premium television, an HBO show filled with big budgets for expensive wardrobes that make Twitter fly (Shiv’s blue dress!) He’s interested in the life of the Roys, zero-point-zero- zero-one-percent who run an empire made up of everything from cable news to theme parks to cruise ships.
On the cinema in fact started out much more modestly, as a podcast between Heidecker and Gregg Turkington, both of whom play twisted versions of themselves in what is apparently a movie review show. Once funded in part by Adult Swim and a Patreon, On the cinema is now fully funded by crowdfunding. And the basic premise of the show is simple: one of the hosts, Tim, doesn’t really care about the movies, while the other, Gregg, only cares about the movies. Through this, the two created an intricate mythology featuring charlatans, a deadly EDM festival, and two Italians who love rock and roll.
The plots of On the cinema Often revolve around Tim’s various projects, which range from alternative medicinal vaping to starting rock band Dekkar. But when the HEI Network was born, the comedy focused on a new target: Joe Rogan, NewsmaxTV, OANN and the growing number of right echo chambers. A huckster keen to sell his own currency and shake up health, Heidecker the character wants to rob his audience for every last dollar with a song and a smile.
The show reboots to some extent each season, with Heidecker embracing new forms of masculinity in all its forms. There’s a season where Tim moves to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and embraces riding a motorcycle, a simple life, and being pro-life – until his partner has an abortion and he realizes that his friends in Jackson Hole were white supremacists.
Tim becomes a rock guy, creating a band with Italians Axion and Manuel, Dekkar, which eventually turns into an EDM band called DKR. He becomes an entrepreneur and opens a cinema called Six Bags Cinema. He creates the Electric Sun Desert Music Festival, where children die. He’s running a Trumpian for the district attorney. Each of these journeys ends in utter shame, only to find him sinking lower, and in turn coming out with a whole new Messianic high.
Or On the cinema is dispersed, Succession is straightforward. It’s a fusion of families with media empires, but it’s clearly Fox’s Murdochs. Their fictional network, ATN, is clearly a parody of Fox News, with jokes about aging viewers and news anchors getting angry with the cancellation culture; one of those this season best jokes takes place in the opening credits, with a new chyron reading, “I smiled at her near the copier – now I’m faced with chemical castration.”
Logan is only looking to conquer, which is pretty easy if you’re up to the call. Mr. Burns’ advice: “Family, religion, friendship. These are the three demons that you must kill if you want to be successful in business. Add ignoring a massive sexual abuse scandal in the cruise division. Kendall seeks reign through an amalgamation of fear and love, and ends up achieving neither. It’s no surprise that they’ve destroyed their relationship, and yet they’re stuck with each other, just like the host of a movie reviews show and the only moviegoer he knows.
Both shows started working on the same question: What is at the heart of the people who create some of the most popular media today? Their responses include delusion, rage, and a growing isolation from everyone you love. Therapists for billionaires have confirmed this Succession hits near them, and right-wing streamers have spent the year horse dewormer as a COVID cure. Satire is not far from reality in both series.
But while there is no real end to the waking nightmare of modern living in 2021, the narrative does insist on one. Jesse Armstrong, Successionand Tim Heidecker seem to agree on this point: if these things end, they will end badly. SuccessionThe brutal finale of showed the hopes of the three main Roy children wiped out by one of their spouses, call him Succession III: Rise of the Wambsgans. Despite their own respective horror, it was hard not to feel a pang of heart for the cruel Shiv, the rampant Roman fascist and the selfish Kendall.
In On the cinema, Heidecker transitions from the aggressor to the abuser in a transparent manner. Mark Proksch (better known today as What we do in the shadows Colin Robinson) spends season after season as a victim of Tim’s physical and verbal abuse – at one point Tim declares in a trial “I have the right to hit you!” He regularly destroys Gregg’s VHS tape collection, whether by magnetization or arson.
“I grew up in Pennsylvania around car dealerships, those stoic WWII generation German men, serious men and the masculinity was very strong, and there wasn’t much but boring tendencies to. watching sports and drinking beer, ”Heidecker said. The believer in 2019. “I saw it all around me. Repressed men get very angry. As they watch Twitter and stock prices rather than sports, the men on Succession are not very different.
All Tim is missing is the Roys’ endless mass of money. If he could just get that rich, if everyone just converted their dollars into Hei Points, he thinks everything would be fine. But Kendall and Logan show how much of a lie that would be. If you are determined to conquer no matter what, then the world is like a permanent battlefield. When Kendall rightly points out to Logan that he doesn’t need the money from the sale of Waystar, Logan agrees. Except that it does not matter. All that matters is the next win.
The question hanging over Tim, Gregg, the Roys and all those unlucky enough to be drawn into their circles – why can’t they just leave? Why do they insist on hating the people closest to them, on embracing the worst aspects of their humanity for money they don’t even need, on making a show about movies where they don’t even talk of films?
The closest thing to an answer is that they don’t know anything else. They kind of started making money like that and can’t stop now because the fall would be even worse than anything that awaits them. So they convinced themselves that this is a real way. All they can do, all they want to do, all they have to do, is whatever they’ve done over and over again.