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Life is on the 'Rox' at I.U.


Typology: article


Review from Indianapolis News by Marion Garmel. January 25, 1995.

THIS IS TO recommend a little alternative television series from Bloomington called “Rox.”

It made its Indianapolis debut at 4 p.m. today on American Cablevision's community access channel (the number varies on your cable dial according to the kind of television set you have). If you missed the episode, you can catch a repeat at 5 p.m. Thursday.

This is the kind of show you could imagine the founders of “Mad Magazine” making if television had been the communications medium of their day. “Rox” was called “J & B at the Rox” during the 2 1/2 years it ran on the Bloomington's cable access channel, after its co-creators and hosts.

J is Joe Nickel. 25, a freelance writer, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University in 1991 and a bartender by trade.

B is Bart Everson, 26-year-old telemarketer from Greenwood who also graduated from I.U. and, like his bartender friend, became a hanger-on around the university.

This is a show that will appeal mainly to people who plan to attend, are attending or have attended I.U. But it also shouldn't offend anyone who appreciates the iconoclastic atmosphere of a university town.

The first show begins with a warning: The following program depicts real life (end of apology).

It then proceeds to follow the hosts, their friends, wives and assorted hangers-on, as they vacate the house they've been sharing and move to other quarters.

That's it. That's the show. But then I haven't mentioned the garage sale where everything is “$1 or free,” or the “sorting through our valuable possessions” routine that includes close examination of a rubber band and an unopened Funnel Cake Box that has been traveling with g.1 the Bartender for six years.

You sort of get the idea. As J explains in a future episode: “You think we're hosts of a TV show. We're just living our lives and carrying a video camera around with us while we complete the various and sundry tasks that make up our lives.”

But these are no dummies. There's a fabulous tribute to the glories of radio in an episode saluting a group of J and B's former dormmates at Collins Living and Learning Center who have become national radio heroes as the creators of a Gothic horror series called “Hayward Sanitarium.”

And there's a wonderful salute to “meaningful” jobs in an episode in which J discusses his former job in marketing services at the I.U. Memorial Union “working for the university, living off the fat of the brains of the land, so to speak,” he explains.

Yes, there's occasional nudity, but not nearly as much in the Indianapolis shows as previously was seen in the Bloomington ones, we are assured. And, no, they don't push marijuana, drugs or alcohol, although there is a drink-mixing segment in each episode. And, of course, the language is contemporary - which means a lot of it would be censored off a mainstream television show. But it's nothing you haven't heard on MTV or HBO. And “Beavis & Butt-head” are dumber.

Regulars on the series include Everson's wife, Christy Paxon [sic], a TV personality in her own right; Jenny Beasley; T. Black; a girl who goes by the name of Worm; and sundry others.

This is more than a hit or miss kind of series, though. It's obvious there are brains at work here. And no, it's not an age thing, either. After all, I'm 58, and I found it intelligent and clever.

Rumor has it that the guys are short of money, and they can use all the contributions they can get. Which is why they run their address at the end of each show.

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