As If the devastating fires that destroyed thousands of homes in Fort McMurray wasn’t enough for the residents of Northern Alberta, suffering locals have to watch themselves be the butt of the Joke in VICE Media’s latest TV show, FUBAR: Age of Computer.
Based on the cult film FUBAR made in 2002, Age of Computer is a rehash of the same characters doing the same thing; getting wasted and being stupid, but the joke comes at the tax payers expense.
Funded in part by Canadian Arts and Film grants, FUBAR not only makes light out of the tragedy in Fort Mac by implying it was the characters themselves that started the fires but they also go about exploiting the system that supported the survivors.
Fans of the show, and there are many, love the characters (I was once one of them) but unlike the personalities they portray, the actors (Dave Lawrence and Paul Spence) are not at all like the real people they make fun of. They are left wing hipsters who are too cool for regular people.
The original film was a Canadian hit because the performances were so realistic. Yet now, as is true with most Vice Media productions, the subject IS the joke. While Bob and Doug McKenzie (of SCTV fame) were affable, fun, good natured hosers, the actors in FUBAR are not. Instead of having fun with the Canadian banger stereotype, they are making fun of the Canadian head banger. The very people who watch the show. To Spence and Lawrence they are losers to be exploited for financial gain.
Apart from Michael Dowse (the director and co-creator of FUBAR) who has made a name for himself since his directorial debut making films world wide, Lawrence and Spence have had a lacklustre career which is why they had to return to the only thing they were good at; making fun of others.
It should be noted that the trio (who now reside in Quebec) went out of their way to include and be respectful towards French culture by creating an unnecessary character who is French Canadian. Presumably because the TV show was shot in Montreal and not Calgary where the show takes place. In Canada it’s ok to make fun of Alberta (English Canadians) but not Quebec (French Canadians) because that would be racist.
In light of VICE Media’s current sexual harassment issues (that appear to be long running and systemic) it is not hard to understand their Machiavellian business model. Appeal to the consumer (and young attractive staff) by presenting a false image. That of progressive, sensitive, socially conscious, equality minded, justice warrior journalism. When in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Under VICE’s bogus appearance lies a pair of cut throat business men in Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi who stabbed their co-founder Gavin McGinnis in the proverbial back like Brutus killed Caeser in the Roman senate 2000 years ago. When the time came, the two saw that the genius behind VICE magazine’s success had to go and forced him out by hostile take over. Today, VICE Media is reported to be worth 5.5 billion.
It is an empire built on the humiliation of the very people who read, watch and consume their products. Under the premise of Journalism or ‘telling peoples stories’, VICE media engages in the mondo ‘Elephant Man’ type exploitation of it’s subjects.
The ‘Look at this person, his life is hard, poor guy. Aren’t you glad you’re not him?’ kind of story telling.
Just like VICE Media, (and the Canadian arts funding bodies that helped produce it) FUBAR: Age of Computer is a tone deaf, pile of insulting garbage.