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The Onion Is Making Movies Now Because Art Imitates Life Imitates Way-Too-Real Art


You know the feeling, right? You’re scrolling through Facebook or Twitter and come across a headline that makes your heart stop for a second before you realize it’s linking to an article on The Onion, one of the best sources for online satire. Though, to be honest, it’s gotten to the point where it can be nearly impossible to tell the difference between a ridiculous satirical headline and real life (not to mention the horrific rise in actual fake news). As the world gets scarier and scarier, the fake headlines sound more and more plausible. Take just a few of these recent examples:

–Trump Gives Intelligence Agencies Their Daily Briefing

–GOP Promises Americans Will Be Able To Keep Current Medical Conditions If Obamacare Repealed

–Dating Profile Flatly States Man Looking For Someone He Can Control

–Facebook User Verifies Truth Of Article By Carefully Checking It Against Own Preconceived Opinions

From the political to the more personal, Onion headlines have always been designed to strike that too-true chord. But when a reality show star is about to become our president and those in power are constantly telling us they want to strip us of basic human rights, the world around us is beginning to resemble those “jokes” more every day.

So it makes sense that in a weird twist of art imitating life imitating art, The Onion has just signed a three-movie deal with Lionsgate. Along with the production company Serious Business (which produces @midnight), they’ll “do to the film industry what they’ve already done to publishing. In a good way.”

Which means what exactly? We can’t know for sure, but odds are good that it will be both exciting and hilarious, and probably upsettingly poignant. Satire, by its nature, can be one of the most incisive forms of comedy, though it can be one of the hardest to get right (although I don’t doubt this team’s abilities there), as well as to market. Just today, the creator of CBS’ Braindead—one of the best satirical comedies of recent years, about brain-eating space bugs taking over Washington D.C.— offered this advice following the show’s cancellation (via TV Line):

“Avoid satire,” he responded with a laugh. “It was a show that was trying to be as weird and anti-network as could be, and it was probably a mistake to do that on a network. But I loved that show.”

Here’s hoping the satire genre finds an audience more easily in film, because it may just be the comedy we need right now.

(via Variety, image via The Onion)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.