Friday, June 7, 2013

IRS Also Ripped Off "Mad Men." But Wait! There's More!

June 7, 2013 - The IRS's horribly awful and expensive ($60,000) "Star Trek" (2010),  the shipwrecked "Gilligan's Island" parody (2010) and the embarrassing dance video were bad enough. But wait, there's more! From the looks of things, the IRS has been wasting taxpayer money on heinously bad videos for decades. That's right: For decades. One has to wonder why: Who the heck actually sees these videos other than IRS employees? We've got some old IRS training videos below, but let's start with this one from 2012, below, which rips off "Mad Men."

"In the noirish video," reports the New York Times yesterday, "an actor appears to echo the character of Don Draper, the besuited advertising executive of the show who dreams up campaigns for cigarettes, airlines and bras. Shot in black and white, with a horn-heavy soundtrack, the four-and-a-half minute video reaches deep for art-world metaphors to describe how I.R.S. employees can assist confused taxpayers."

The NYT also notes that the "Mad Men" ripoff "does not appear on the [IRS's] YouTube channel, which was started in April 2011. Instead, it was uploaded to the site by Michael R. Davis, the professional actor hired to play 'Mr. Draper'."

Actor Michael R. Davis
Michael Davis, IRS Actor
Davis's YouTube channel is "ACTINGREELMRDAVIS," and features only nine videos of his work, including the IRS training video. We found more about him at the website of Stephen Smith Films. Davis has a role in "The Rendezvous," a short film (you can see a trailer there).

The site says that Davis has "starred in TV commercials, numerous government and private industrial films for agencies such as NSA, FBI, and DoD, and hosted a show that aired on HGTV. He has also appeared on such programs as 'Game Change,' 'VEEP,' 'Sex and the City,' 'Homicide,' and 'America’s Most Wanted.' Of his favorite roles was that of a stunt driver/photo double for a character on the TV show 'Bones'."

Oscar Nunez
Oscar Nuñez, IRS Actor
Expect to see Davis making the rounds on talks shows in the very near future. This should be a boost for his career. More power to him. He did nothing wrong. He's just an actor doing what he's paid to do. He's not like the IRS folks, who are overpaid to act like they're working.

Rondo The Midget
As the NYT says, the "Mad Men" themed video is not on the IRS YouTube channel. In fact, there are surprisingly few videos posted there. Fortunately, there is Rondo The Midget. Yep, and his YouTube channel is called "rondothemidget." Makes sense, right? Sure. Rondo seems to have a love of IRS training videos, and he's got a bunch posted over there. I think my favorite is titled "IRS Videos, Understanding Taxes - Direct & Indirect Taxes" (watch it below).

Rondo (the midget) describes the video this way:

"As shown in Mr. Hiles' classroom; badly written and acted videos produced by the IRS in the 80s, demonstrating that taxes are cool. This one could be titled, "Taxes, Pets or Meat." In this video, the main character gets his own bachelor pad, eats Donkey Kong cereal, does shots of Orange Crush, but may lose all this awesomeness because of a property tax increase. He then watches a giant 1" videotape at the library, learns the difference between direct & indirect taxes, and wins a steak dinner bet with his sister who owns a pet store. Main character is Oscar Nuñez, who continues to act, most recently seen in The Proposal with Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds and is/was a regular on The Office."

With any luck, and badly need acting coach, doing government films and videos will be the same career booster for Michael R. Davis that it was for Oscar Nuñez.

The next video, below, is titled "Understanding Taxes - Taxes Raise Revenue."

Rondo says this about the video:

"In this video, the star football player rocks the Le Tigre shirt and the 80s shoulder sweater knot, takes a shine to the plain but studious girl, psycho mom who serves paste for breakfast and is happy when her daughter is ignored by boys, a token handicapped person delivers a note, bizarre characters attend the county council meeting, and the boy comes to the girl's rescue by shouting 'Jean!' In the end, bridges are mended both literally and figuratively."

Ironically, after decades of spending big bucks on lousy training films and videos - ostensibly to help people avoid audits - the IRS itself would fail an audit.

It occurs to me that Rondo The Midget should consider a career as a film reviewer. He's pithy and poignant.  Also watch "Understanding Taxes - Bikes & Withholding," which teaches us that paying taxes makes you a chick magnet. Of course, learning to line dance like an IRS employee will also make you more sexually attractive.