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Series / ROX

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"...The trials and tribulations of a small group of idealistic Hoosier hedonists who don't wanna get real jobs."
—Program description published in the Indianpolis Star, January 1995
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In 1989, Bart Everson was convicted for streaking and carried out his sentence of community service at Bloomington Community Access Television (BCAT), a cable access channel in Bloomington, Indiana. It was there that he learned how to edit and produce videos for broadcasting on local television. By 1992, Bart had developed an idea for a BCAT show co-hosted by himself and his friend, bartender Joe Nickell.

The result was ROX — originally J & B on the ROX — a program which was initially devoted to teaching viewers how to mix alcoholic beverages while discussing various topics in increasingly drunken fashion, but which evolved to following Bart ("Editor B"), Joe ("Bartender J"), and their small circle of friends (most notably Bart's lover-then-wife Christy "XY" Paxson and self-styled anarchist clown Terry "T Black" Hornsby) as they live out their bohemian lifestyles on the social margins of Bloomington.

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There is polemic critique. There is biting satire. There is an entire episode about defrosting a freezer.

ROX holds the distinction of being the first TV show distributed over the Internet, predating YouTube by over a decade. It is also notorious for pushing the boundaries of what could be shown on a cable access show — depictions of profanity, nudity, and all-around vulgarity were unapologetically common. Particularly controversial were the producers' position on decriminalizing marijuana, which included one noteworthy stunt where B and J smoked pot directly in front of the Monroe County Courthouse.

The first three seasons are considered to be a fascinating time capsule peeking into the stoner/slacker/grunge subculture of The '90s. Production ceased in 1995 due to financial difficulties (despite the show debuting globally online and nationally on Free Speech TV) and B and J later moved out of Bloomington to different parts of the country. A fourth season began in 2002 and has been shown at a dragging pace due to logistics, with the most recent episode premiering in 2018.

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Not to be confused with a Flemish children's program of the same name.

Warning: the following tropes contain material which may not be suitable for young children or sensitive viewers. Sorry.

  • Cooking Show: Originally started out as this, albeit with alcoholic cocktails instead of food, with J instructing viewers how to mix drinks (usually themed after a person or topic in the episode). The mixing segments carried over into the later seasons, even though the show was no longer exclusively about them by that time.
  • Condescending Compassion: MF appears on The Montel Williams Show as a guest and is subjected to this attitude by Montel for taking Prozac for her depression.
  • Content Warnings: See Couch Gag.
  • Couch Gag: Each episode carries a content warning which is a variation of the same message: the show depicts real adults engaging in real adult-type situations, and the producers don't care whether you have a problem with that.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "XY in NY" is about Christy's summer-long experience living in New York while interning for MTV.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Sustaining the Buzz" (Episode #60) refers to both the gang riding high on the media attention brought upon by their antics in front of the courthouse in the previous episode, and a milder stage of drunkenness.
  • Drugs Are Good: B, J, and company are frequently seen enjoying different varieties of marijuana, and passionately argue for the drug to be decriminalized (especially after reaction to the courthouse incident gives them wider exposure in the media).
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even though the producers of ROX make no bones about their dislike for the More Life Coalition, they were still willing to let their leader express the group's views on their show.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Part of the opening skit in "Moving On Down" has J interrupt B and XY in the middle of sex to inform him they have to move out of their rented house today.
  • Moral Guardians: ROX wastes no opportunity to ridicule the local social conservative element in Bloomington, most notably the More Life Coalition (an extreme pro-life group that opposes all birth control and favors compulsory procreation), State Rep. Woody Burton (who introduced a bill making sex in public parks a jailable offense), not to mention anybody who objects to the risque content of the show.
  • Mr. Fanservice / Ms. Fanservice: The four main cast members are seen partly or fully naked on occasion. Both J and T Black have gone full frontal.
  • The '90s: Specifically 1992-1995. Not only were the first three seasons shot during that period, but certain events (Bill Clinton's election and Kurt Cobain's suicide) are discussed. Part of the charm of the earlier episodes comes from their grungy, zero-budget aesthetic and how they document a subculture which existed in the U.S. during this particular point in time.
  • Police Brutality: The Bloomington Police are not shown in the best of light. B and J interview a local artist who was convicted of violating an obscenity ordinance with his sexually explicit drawings, and as a result is subject to surprise visits by the police who are checking if he has drawn anything else.
  • The Slacker: Everybody.
  • The Stoner: Everybody.
  • Special Guest: Several as the show became more widely known, most notably Noam Chomsky.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Worm falls victim to one in "Sustaining the Buzz" when she tries to ride a bicycle uphill wearing a bathrobe.
    • Invoked by XY as part of a joke during the pool party in "Flow".
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