The Crisis of Wilder’s Binge Body: Starring Mr. Clore & Mr. Wilder
A Lawrenceville biology teacher, Boys Varsity Wrestling Coach, and student body favorite, John Clore H’02 is a renaissance man.
A Lawrenceville biology teacher, Boys Varsity Wrestling Coach, and student body favorite, John Clore H’02 is a renaissance man. He’s proven that with The Crisis of Wilder’s Binge Body, a series he co-wrote, produced, and starred in himself. The show chronicles co-star, Housemaster of Upper House, and Director of Dance Derrick Wilder’s struggle with binge eating during COVID-19, resulting in his “binge body.” In each of the five episodes, Clore attempts to motivate Wilder through physical activity and recovery from his uncharacteristically plump condition. The pilot introduces the conflict, with Wilder gnawing on Popeyes while ignoring Clore’s attempts to make him do push-ups. The episode establishes high stakes as well: “This calls for extreme measures; I’m going to have to do something extreme,” Clore concludes after witnessing Wilder’s new form. The series expands on that conflict, pitting Clore’s indomitable will against Wilder’s immovable stomach.
The series might be Clore’s latest, most successful venture into the film business, but it is far from his first. Before airing Binge Body, he found online notoriety with underground classics like Lac Operon, Sugar Transport: Pressure Flow Hypothesis, and Dideoxy DNA Sequencing, all of which garnered over 100 thousand views on YouTube. Further, his movies played a role in popularizing a new genre: learning. “He was doing that stuff before Khan Academy,” Maxima Molgat ’20 acknowledged when discussing the innovative, trend-setting Lac Operon. However, Binge Body bares little resemblance to Clore’s past work. His prior videos relied on animated screen-play and shared a distinct, near-monotone voice over, which some critics labeled “boring.” Binge Body, on the other hand, is a poignant live-action thriller about work ethic, health, and friendship, not just biological processes. The creative risks capture Clore at his best and animate a compelling story.
If Clore is the impetus of the story, then his co-star, Wilder, constitutes the emotional core. Wilder also brings a trove of performing arts experience to the show, demonstrating his skills each time he’s on screen. His acting is generally good, but his signature moment occurs in episode two. Wilder, drinking ketchup out of the bottle, delivers a stunning rendition of a V Form boy; he forgets to close the fridge, leaves Popeyes scattered on the ground, and continues eating through Clore’s scolding, keenly evoking the plaintive condition of Lawrenceville seniors. Gems like these power the series, and Wilder deserves credit for highlighting the emotional side of an action-based script. Wilder also deserves praise for his exemplary commitment to the role—without it, Binge Body would not be the thought-provoking piece it is.
Deviating from his normally-toned physique, he put on a significant amount of weight for the job. Famous for teaching his ongoing “Body By Derrick”(BBD) classes, it’s a testament to his dedication that Wilder reneged on his own workouts, but still leads them on a weekly basis. His effort has won rightful recognition from critics. Even Evelyn Dugan ’21, an avid dancer who typically sees Wilder in the studios, considers this his “best work,” noting that she’s “never seen him act this well before.” Wilder has produced arguably the seminal work of his career through the first few episodes of Binge Body.
The last pair of episodes of Binge Body maintain the series’s high standards, but they take the show further by provoking some burning questions. In episode three, Clore manages to convince Wilder to attempt a push up. When Wilder fails to complete one, Clore resolves to get Wilder “off [the] couch” and teach him that he’s “gotta get after it.” Subsequently, Clore gave himself a motivational, Connor McGregor style mohawk. Unsurprisingly, the haircut worked. Wilder, influenced by Clore’s charismatic style, finally worked out and waddled up the Upper House stairs to the tune of Clore singing the Rocky theme song. In the wake of Clore’s predictably good musical turn, some viewers, like Lana Utley ’20, have wondered, “What can’t he do?” in D period Honors Biology break-out rooms. Similarly, many fans speculate that Wilder will rapidly shed weight now that he’s been inspired by Clore’s new hair. Others are curious what else Clore has up his sleeve. Only time will tell, but we’re committed to finding out.
In the age of streaming and Netflix, Binge Body is the first bit of appointment TV since Game of Thrones aired and perfect for quarantine. In a comment about episode two, Sal Natale ’20 remarked that the show “is the only thing keeping [him] alive during quarantine.” Wilder and Clore’s work is successfully providing comedic relief and entertainment to Lawrentians stuck in isolation all over the world. We can’t wait to see what the next episode has in store.
The Crisis of Wilder’s Binge Body can be streamed on Instagram @lvilleupperhouse. Contact reviewers at firstname.lastname@example.org, mac777, and email@example.com. Ethan doesn’t use snapchat, but Mac can give you his number. Seriously, we’re lonely.