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'Documentary Now!' fan recap: Eskimo fever

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “Kunuk Uncovered” | Aired Aug 27, 2015

In the latest episode of IFC’s mockumentary/doc parody series Documentary Now!, Fred Armisen and Bill Hader spoof of the classic 1922 documentary Nanook of the North

Helen Mirren greets the audience and introduces tonight’s documentary: Kunuk Uncovered. This 1985 documentary tells the untold tale of how the groundbreaking 1922 documentary Kunuk the Hunter was actually captured. Thanks to interviews with the crew, mainly cameraman Barnabas (Hader in some hardcore makeup to look like an older man), we learn that Kunuk was really an Eskimo named Pipilok (Armisen).

Back in the 1920s, Eskimo fever had taken over the country, and director William H. Sebastian (John Slattery) decided to head to Canada with cameraman Barnabas to capture Eskimos in their environment. Sebastian was after realism and truth, but it seemed like he might go home empty-handed due to the fact that Sebastian could not control the actions of the much stronger Eskimos.


However, everything changed when the men of the village went off on a hunt and Sebastian noticed that one male was left behind—Pipilok.

In a letter to his wife back home, Sebastian described Pipilok as “slow of mind,” which made him ideal for the film because Sebastian was able to control Pipilok’s actions. Though he may have not been the sharpest tool in the shed, after watching some of the footage, Pipilok realized his value and became somewhat of a diva. Pipilok wanted to be called Kunuk, and would not leave is igloo unless he got his makeup done by the whore from the nearby village. He would also only film for four hours a day, and demanded to eat in the middle of the day at a table. Soon the whore from the nearby village brought her pimp, who then became Pipilok’s manager.


If dealing with all of Pipilok’s demands wasn’t enough from Sebastian, the director had to flee the village in the middle of the night when the Eskimo men returned from the hunt. It would seem that Sebastian and the Eskimo women were having a pretty good time in the cold (wink, wink).

With Sebastian gone, Barnabas was sure the film was over—but Pipilok wanted to take over as the director. During this time period, Pipilok pioneered some of the instrumental filming techniques filmmakers use today, like tracking shots, point-of-view angles, and even building sets. Though Barnabas and the crew were impressed with Pipilok’s skills as a director, he had become a monster.

A blizzard hit the area and Pipilok wanted to continue film, but none of the crew wanted to take a risk in the dangerous weather. So Pipilok went out in the blizzard alone with the camera. No one ever saw Pipilok or that camera again …

Luckily, Barnabas had all the footage. While at the docks getting ready to board a ship back home, Barnabas found a very dirty Sebastian. Barnabas bought Sebastian a ticket, and the two men headed home. Once back in the U.S., Barnabas showed Sebastian all the footage Pipilok took.

Sebastian hated all of Pipilok’s footage. In fact, the only thing that Sebastian used that Pipilok contributed was the name: Kunuk.

Audiences loved the Eskimo film that Sebastian released—Kunuk the Hunter. However, he was not able to enjoy this newfound fame because soon after the film’s release, he died from gonorrhea.

Next week, the doc-parody series will take on the documentary style of Vice.

Documentary Now! airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. on IFC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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