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J&B at the Bird

 

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From The Bloomington Voice
"Eyes n Ears"
Sept. 15-22, 1993

J&B at the Bird

By Carl Hott

No doubt about it. Like a cold that no one seems to want to cure, J&B on the ROX is catching. After its first year, their small band of followers continues to grow. Who else could have had a season premiere celebration at the Bluebird last week with such good attendance?

The show's official purposo is to "glorify the responsible use of alcohol." Of course, the alcohol on the show is simulated, but don't worry. The only real influence you'll be under from them is the incredible left-field humor. In Woody Allen's Husbands-and-Wives style, the cameramen bop and weave while following J and B around town to various points of interest, occasionally remaining stationary while J makes a drink. Most other times, the camera is literally shoved in their faces. It's David Letterman on drugs.

You just gotta admire these guys.

But don't expect the show to be pure social commentary. The bottom line is, it's a game, pure and simple. J and B are here to raise hell, and to have fun in their own screwball way. Everyone else is just tagging along for the ride.

On J's jacket pocket, like a red badge of courage, he proudly displays his letter. Created by a local cartoonist, it features certain elements of the human anatomy that scome may find offensive. These 'elements' were put there in jest of a segment that got nixed by the BCAT censors. But that didn't stop J and B. They continue to push the enselope and gain more attention every time someone tries to stop them. (I started tuning in when I saw an ad in the Voice graced with their mugs reading 'J and B - Censored in Bloomington." It's hard not to think of the Beatles' album "Revolver" after each episode.)

The season premiere, "J&B's Freshman Orientation Program," was no exception. For those of you who have to wait for the repeats, J and B treated us to three drink recipes, a crash course on Indiana's blue laws, a look at the value of education (J, by the way, is degreed in anthropology), a bike ride with a pet cockroach inside Jordan Hall, a clip from the boisterous Christy Paxson (a staple of the show), ways to obtain free pornography, and a unique look at Alfred Kinsey, founder of B-town's Kinsey Institute for Sex, Gender and Reproduction. Very creative camera work, too. Much better than one would expect for a local show.

The Institute may not be around long, but J and B are here to stay. They have planted their roots and are beginning to blossom with a new following. Commented a black-T-shirted patron named Brad, who had never seen the show before coming to the premiere: "They're silly, but that's what makes them so hilarious." Encore, Brad.

I wandered to the bar and ordered the show's namesake, toasting the pair for what will surely be the most creative cable show you will see in a long time. If you hate it, tune it out. Don't even give it a thought. But don't blame anyone but yourself if you find yourself tuning back for an occasional peek.

I raise my glass to you, J and B. Here's to a successful second season.

J&B on the ROX airs Tuesday nights at 11 pm on BCAT, channel 3

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