Weekly Web Series Review: Baby Cakes

Brad Neely, perhaps best known for his hilarious “George Washington” and “JFK” music videos, has built an empire of off animatics (still images edited together with dialogue and sound effects). The creator of “Creased Comics” also invented a fictional town called China, Illinois, in which several strange characters reside, including a huge, baby-faced man named Mark “Baby” Cakes. In the series “Baby Cakes,” Neely explores the unique life and philosophy of this probably autistic, mostly gentle giant, and the results are very funny, always absurd, and even sort of profound and sad a surprising amount of the time.

The first six episodes of “Baby Cakes” find Baby Cakes transcribing his thoughts on a variety of subjects into his diary. The very first episode sets up a few recurring themes of the series, such as Baby Cakes’ belief that his father and his father’s professor friends are wizards, and his love of fantasy role-playing games. When one of his friends asks him if he’s a virgin, Baby Cakes’ reply is a perfect example of his strangely limited understanding of the world: “I said no, because I can’t give birth to a Jesus.” The episode also sets up Baby Cakes’ recurring songwriting, and some of the later episodes are entirely made of these songs.

The second episode introduces Baby Cakes’ grandfather and explores the relationship between the three generations, and demands a few repeat viewings in order to decipher the ridiculous bathroom graffiti Baby Cakes encounters in a gas station bathroom on the way to his grandfather’s house. The third episode is among the series’ very best, as it is the first one that really captures the sweet, oddly sad philosophy and worldview of Baby Cakes, a self-described “peaceful, sleepy giant making zero a year.” As Baby Cakes walks through the park, reflecting on the world around him, as he sees it, in a unique parlance all his own: “I have a big coat, with big pockets. Sometimes, kittens get in there. It’s cool with me as long as they keep their hook-socks curled.” The episode ends with a wonderful encapsulation of Baby Cakes’ views about life: “Even if my days don’t mean anything, I just hope that I die while hugging, and not while in a wine-drinking contest.”

The sixth episode expands on this strange but surprisingly insightful worldview, and just might be the very best episode of the entire series. It finds Baby Cakes digging up a time capsule he buried as a child, in which he placed his favorite thing and a note to his future self, in which he explains sex: “Sex is a people-spaghetti. Hairy pee-pees clash. They yell, ‘Yes! Yes!’ but their grody faces say, ‘Ouch!’” The rest of the episodes (the non-diary ones) are something of a mixed bag, but there are definitely highlights, and the whole series is only about 32 minutes long, with more brilliance scattered throughout than most full-length television series.


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The Great Taddy Porter Grill-Off

With the 4th of July – and therefore the peak of the grilling season – just around the corner, we asked the members of Taddy Porter, whose eponymous debut conveniently drops today, if they would be so kind as to share some grilling tips with us. The boys were happy to oblige, picking up one of the largest pieces of steak we’ve ever seen (we couldn’t help but laugh, though, that the background music during that bit happened to be the most un-Taddy Porter-esque Little Boots) and roasting that puppy over coals like real men, with a “MacGruber” reference thrown in for good measure. Even better is the vegetable side dish they chose to serve with it: bacon-wrapped jalapeno peppers, stuffed with cream cheese. Yum.

It’s true: Taddy Porter are from Stillwater, Oklahoma. We’re afraid to ask them how many “Almost Famous” jokes they’ve had to suffer during their recent press blitz.


Miss Michigan crowned Miss USA 2010

Despite a near tumble in her evening gown, Rima Fakih, Miss Michigan for 2010, was crowned Miss USA on Sunday. Fakih won the competition after swimsuit, evening gown, and interview competitions. During the interview portion of the event, Fakih expressed her belief that birth control should be covered by health insurance.

Fakih will replace North Carolina’s Kristen Dalton as Miss USA, taking away a one-year lease for an apartment in New York, living expenses, health and beauty services, and an undisclosed salary. When asked about the win, Fakih said only, “Ask me after I’ve had a pizza.”