Ten days of hilarious and provocative clips from the archives of Louis Alvarez, Andrew Kolker, Peter Odabashian and Paul Stekler in anticipation of the national broadcast of their new film on POV!
#10. American Tongues (1988)
Twenty-six years ago this week, PBS viewers were introduced to a bold new documentary series called POV. The first show? American Tongues, which Louis Alvarez and Andy Kolker had been working on for five years. This hilarious and provocative look at American ways of speaking is still as entertaining as ever — just check out this clip!
#9. Vote for Me (1996)
The four Getting Back to Abnormal producers first got together in the mid-90s to make the four-part Peabody Award-winning Vote for Me — Politics in America, an irreverent look at the way Americans campaign. Enjoy this clip and see how little politics has changed in the last two centuries!
#8. The Japanese Version (1992)
Louis and Andy took their show on the road and headed to Japan in the late 80s to examine how Japanese pop culture appropriated Western imagery for its own purposes. Some folks think The Japanese Version is our most enjoyable film! Take a look at this clip and see if you agree.
#7. Louisiana Boys: Raised on Politics (1992)
Check out this clip of legendary Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, star of Louisiana Boys, the first collaboration between Andy, Paul and Louis. Featured on POV in the summer of 1992, it was our first pass at creating a cultural portrait of politics in action, culminating in Vote for Me a few years later and, now, Getting Back to Abnormal.
#6. The Anti-Americans (a hate/love relationship) (2007)
In the waning days of the Bush administration, Peter, Andy and Louis traveled to Europe to see how people were dealing with their conflicting feelings about the U.S. The Anti-Americans featured everything from giant French anti-American puppets to an English opera based on the Jerry Springer show, but perhaps the most surprising character we encountered lived in Warsaw. Check him out!
#5. People Like Us: Social Class in America (2001)
This might have been our most challenging film to make: how do you get Americans to talk about the class system — something that many of them don’t believe exists? Years before inequality became the issue of our time, People Like Us provided a sweeping overview of how we compartmentalize ourselves. Of course, being a CNAM program, there were plenty of laughs along the way… like this look at this plain-spoken concrete-gnome retailer.
#4. George Wallace: Settin’ The Woods on Fire (2000)
Working on his own, Paul delved deep into the dark psyche of race and politics in America, producing the definitive film biography of one of the 20th Century’s most notorious politicians. The story is a lot more complicated that you think! Check it out.
#3. Moms (1999)
Taking a break from politics, Louis, Andy and Peter decided to make a film where everyone they talked to was an expert in the subject at hand. The result was the charmingly universal <em<Moms, with commentary from some of the funniest natural comediennes who ever gave birth. Check it out here.
#2. The Political Education of Maggie Lauterer (1996)
Once upon a time in the hills of western North Carolina, an independent-minded political non-professional woman ran for office. We told her remarkable story in The Political Education of Maggie Lauterer, which was the centerpiece of our series Vote for Me: Politics in America. Check out this clip of “Maggie Magic.”
#1. Getting Back to Abnormal (2014)
Returning to the scene of their professional births, Louis, Andy, and Paul (with an assist from Peter, who is now an honorary New Orleanian) have made a film that ties together their longstanding interests in culture, politics, race, class, and good food! Here’s a sneak peek at an only-in-New-Orleans scene from Getting Back to Abnormal.
Premieres July 14, 2014 on PBS stations. Check your local listings.