If you’re in the market for a few hours of manic violence, political incorrectness and incredibly dark humor, then tune in to IFC this August to catch the six-episode run of the network’s sure-to-be-controversial comedy series Bullet in the Face, because the network is reportedly a little unsure about the content, so it is planning to show all six episodes in two nights later this summer.
Not to be confused with Stallone’s Bullet to the Head, Bullet in the Face hails from executive producer Alan Spencer, creator of Sledge Hammer! (for those who remember, or have recently discovered the late ’80s comedy series) and carries this official description: “A series about a psychotic criminal trying to juggle the demands of violence and an active social life.” That alone should be enough to garner some interest from viewers, but according to Deadline, network executives were left shocked and nervous after a screening of the comedy series.
Starring former professional hockey player Max Williams as Gunter Volgler, the series concerns a German assassin who has, for some reason or another, become a cop, and is now caught between two mob bosses played by Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight) and Eddie Izzard (upcoming, Mockingbird Lane). Beyond Volgler being a misogynistic psychopath, prone to engaging in unrestrained shootings, peppered with wildly offensive language, IFC is apparently concerned that the use of a crucifix as a backscratcher and dialogue grouping Dick Cheney in with the likes of Hitler and Stalin will be misconstrued as something more than an attempt at some very dark, inappropriate humor.
Bullet in the Face has reportedly been found so potentially contentious that, in an effort to avoid being the target of certain parental and entertainment watchdog groups, the network has had difficulty placing it on its schedule. According to Deadline, Spencer acknowledges Bullet in the Face has made executives at IFC nervous, but that the network remains supportive.
“IFC came to me about developing a half-hour action comedy and it somehow turned into the most violent sitcom ever made. But the IFC team has been very supportive. One episode featured beheadings and their only note was that the heads be tastefully handled. [The show] did make some people nervous, but mostly over how to position it. A show where people get shot in the face multiple times isn’t compatible with repeats of Malcolm in the Middle.”
According to IFC President and General Manager Jennifer Caserta, the scheduling is intended to pair Bullet in the Face with appropriate, likeminded material (such as broadcasts of films like Sin City), and is not an attempt to hastily shuffle the program out the door before too many people notice and the complaints start rolling in.
In regards to the unusual scheduling, Caserta said:
“We think we’ve given it a really great airing window. This is a concept that only a network like IFC would take a chance on. We’re calling it pulp comedy. Alan was able to create a world and a cast of characters and real dialogue to fit this new genre we felt we were creating together. It’s incredibly unique in its execution, and that will fit very well with the way we’re scheduling it. We’ve never run away from content like this before, and we’re not now. We embrace it and laugh at it and celebrate the absurdity.”
It remains to be seen whether the unorthodox scheduling Bullet in the Face has received will help it skirt controversy or court it, but when one considers the series’ description, combined with the notion that the network may have “the most violent sitcom ever made” on its hands, perhaps a little controversy was always in the cards.
Bullet in the Face will air all six episodes August 16 and 17 starting @10pm on IFC.