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A Loving (and Reluctant) Farewell to TK On His Last Week at Pajiba

By The Pajiba Staff | Celebrity | December 14, 2019 |

By The Pajiba Staff | Celebrity | December 14, 2019 |


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I didn’t want to write this. In fact, until TK posted to social media that he was leaving Pajiba, I had no intention of writing a goodbye post. I wanted to think of TK’s departure as open-ended, and there’s too much finality to a goodbye post. What if he changes his mind six weeks from now, and he feels like he can’t come back because we all said goodbye?

Denial is a hell of a drug, folks, and for several weeks, I have lived in denial that this day would come. Hell, I’ve been in denial about this for years. TK has a time-consuming full-time job, he has a kid, and he’s a big deal in his community, and while I’ve managed to guilt TK out of leaving several times in the past as he has reduced his workload, it is clearly time now to let him go.

You have no idea how much this kills me. Kills us. TK wrote his first post here in January of 2008 — a review of The Wild Bunch, but he was a part of this place for a couple of years before that as a commenter. I can’t imagine Pajiba without TK — and that’s not because of his review contributions, although that, too. It’s that, for the last 12 years, TK has been there for me, for us, for the site. He’s the first person to welcome new people. He helped manage the site for a decade, and he’s been around for me after I mis manage the site. He was the first Pajiba reader I ever met in real life, and when he drove from Boston to Maine, I had no idea what to expect, because this was pre-social media. He told me he was just a suburban dude who liked to drink beer and mow his lawn, so I was honestly expecting — I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was not expecting a built, 6’5 teddy bear covered in tattoos (and his wife is legit one of the most amazing women on the planet).

He was there for the first Pajiba-con, in Philly. He was at our first SXSW. We went to the wedding of a friend and former colleague who met her husband through the site (hi Stacey!). And after going to the Boston Film Festival together for several years, he had to bail on opening day one year because his wife went into labor, and after that, we just met yearly for Mexican food in the Spring. He’s been here through all the ups and downs, all the good days and bad. From email, to Facebook, to Slack. We evolved together as writers and as humans. This guy I basically met in the comments section of a stupid website is one of my best friends in the world, and you have no idea how much it pains me to have to not spend another decade relentlessly guilting him into staying one more year. It’s time, I guess. But Jesus Christ, it’s killing me.

I was listening to a podcast a few months ago, where Peter Sagal of “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” was being interviewed. They asked him what he most wanted to be remembered for. He said that 20 years ago, he wanted to be remembered and celebrated for a bunch of awards and career achievements. But now, he said, he just wanted to be remembered as someone for whom people enjoyed working. No one here is ever going to be remembered more fondly as a colleague and friend than Kurt. And here’s all the proof you need:

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I don’t do sentimentality. Emotions are ugly little fuckers. So I’m not crying about this and planning to drink myself blinder than usual this weekend. Nope. Not me. I’m not gonna miss his insights, his rage, his unique perspective, his musical tastes. You are.

…Fuck. We are all gonna miss that, ain’t we? This site owes a god damned lot of what it is, how it sees things, how it speaks, how it fucking breathes, to TK. He’s a force of nature and when he uses that force for good, it’s a sight to behold. (And it’s downright delicious when he uses it for evil.)

TK, I’m still gonna send you texts just so you can see my name and feel a little rage boil in your blood. To keep the fire alive. To get you fucking back here one day. In the meantime, thank you. You ain’t been all bad. — Seth Freilich

—-

It’s hard to imagine a Pajiba without TK and his love of sweater vests and good booze, but I’ll forever be grateful for the site bringing us together. I’ve found a lifelong friend in him, and that’s enough goddamn sappiness for now. — Nicole Fuscia

—-

One of a myriad of terrifying things I thought about when joining Pajiba as a writer seven years ago was TK. He had this persona on the site of being fully capable and willing to verbally rip you up one side and down the other before throwing you in his basement with the rest of the poor souls that dared to cross him. I found that he absolutely can be that person, but he’s also an amazing cheerleader, co-worker, and friend to have on your side. Although I’ll miss his posts on the site, I take comfort in knowing I can always show up at his house and sleep in his shed, no questions asked. — Jodi Smith

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TK is the kind of guy who wants you to think he’s big and tough. He doesn’t want you to know of his gooey nougat center. But it’s there. It’s there and it is SOFT. Not only does he have a heart, but a GOOD ONE. Being his friend and colleague has made me a better person, and I’m so lucky to have gotten to work with him for so long. TK, this isn’t goodbye. As the poets once said, “We don’t even have pictures / Just memories to hold / That grow sweeter each season / As we slowly grow old.” EVERYBODY NOW! WALK ON THE OCEAAAANNNNNN, STEP ON THE STOOOONNNNEESSSS.

Love you, buddy. From Court and Toad. — Courtney Enlow

—-

This shouldn’t be possible given his pro football affiliations, but TK’s one of the smartest people you’ll ever encounter. Take his nom de plume, for instance: TK. To craft this Bondian alias, he took the first letter of his first name, and the first letter of his last name, and then —- now here’s the prestige, so follow closely —- REVERSED THE ORDER!!! (/airhorn sound). Zodiac-level cypher.

Real talk: TK is the rare writer on this series of tubes with an ability to truly make you consider contentious issues differently. Now, I’m not a stubborn man (let’s see if that line makes it past the editors). But for years I believed getting mad about awards shows was a sincere waste of time. The person or film or show winning a little statue doesn’t mean the other person or film or show YOU wanted to win that statue must now be crushed into a cube by Wall-E, never to be enjoyed again. Me, an intellectual, laughed at the angry rubes confident that mine was enlightened position.

Then one day TK wrote an elegant, passionate post — is there any other kind? — arguing that award shows matter quite a bit. Something as small as nominating a film or performance traditionally ignored by the White Dude Entertainment Complex™️changes Hollywood’s entire makeup. It opens doors for minority filmmakers and actors to get their next big role or secure more funding than they would have otherwise, which in turn allows them to hire underrepresented actors, writers, cinematographers, key grips, editors, and more all the way down the line. I got to the end of that post and realized, not for the last time, that the rube…was me.

I’ll miss feeling stupid when I read his posts. You will, too. This site and its writers were better because he called Pajiba home for a decade. I enjoyed the years I was lucky enough to work alongside him, and wish him strength as his quarterback ages into irrelevance. — Brian Bryd

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I don’t know that I can talk about TK/Kurt without lapsing into cliches. I’ve been wracking my brain all morning, and I just can’t find the words that do his impact at Pajiba justice. I will say that upon meeting Kurt, and hearing his laugh (which some might even call a giggle) the angrier persona he put forth on the site—at least as a commentator—was very much belied. And honestly, those two aspects, his righteous and funny belligerence and his huge heart says a lot about who he is and the role he’s played at Pajiba over the years. Godtopus, is he going to be missed! — Tamatha G.

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When I first joined Pajiba, TK told me that he enjoyed my work “on Twitter”, which let me know that he has, at best, questionable taste. Despite this, I will miss TK’s presence in the Pajiba slack, his witty, hilarious, heartfelt writing, and of course, his willingness to subject himself to things like the McDonalds experiment. — Dan Hamamura

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I wish I had the right words to describe what a delight and privilege it has been to have Kurt as one of my colleagues over the past 20 months that I’ve been part of Team Pajiba. He was instantly welcoming, always extremely funny, and annoyingly witty when the occasion called for it. I still revisit that 50 Shades Freed review when I need a pick-me-up, especially for the Pulitzer-worthy line “the sex scenes are like a tire fire inside a robot handjob factory.” He may not brag about it much but he’s impeccably generous and the kind of co-worker you dream about. Not sure who else I have left to recommend fun romance novels and YA books to. Dammit. Treat him well, rest of the world! — Kayleigh Donaldson

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There are many reasons why TK will be greatly missed at Pajiba, and many of those reasons will be shared by other staff members who know him far better than I do.

For me, those reasons include how he made me and other writers feel incredibly welcome when joining the staff, how he would bring humor and brilliance to nearly everything he wrote, his ability to spit a profane and confidence-shattering insult in ways that would make Malcolm Tucker jealous, and the fact that he actually trusted me to offer his equally brilliant sister some advice as she prepared to direct her very first episode of The Walking Dead.

Pajiba will keep its head up and keep going as always, but it certainly won’t be the same without TK, and without everything that he would bring to the table. — Brian O’Neal Richards

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I am going to miss my movie twin something fierce— Kurt is simply the best, and I say that as someone who was a fan of the guy before he became my friend. While he is going be missed within all facets of Pajiba, he will be missed most of all the next time a Fast and Furious movie comes out, because he is the only person in this godforsaken place that appreciates true cinema.

In the immortal words of Dom:

via GIPHY

I’m not going to say goodbye. It’s never goodbye. It’s simply until I’ll see you again, friend. Now, excuse me while I go sip a Corona, and stare mournfully at the ocean. 😢😢😢 — Kate Hudson



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At times like this I always default to humor, but there is no joke or witticism that can capture the absolute privilege it has been to work with TK. Now if you will excuse me, I am gonna go try and wake up from this nightmare year and hopefully find myself still working with TK. You, sir, are so far from the worst you might actually be… the best? — Tori Preston

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(Due to events in the UK, Petr is at a loss of words at the moment but sends his heartfelt best wishes.)

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There aren’t enough positive words in the English language to describe Kurt, and I could say some emotional stuff in Persian, but then I would cry more than I’m already crying. So. Here’s what I’ll say about Kurt: When I met him in person last year for the first time, he gave me a hug like we had known each other for years and he was very good-natured when he realized that my tendency as a movie watcher is to shove the person next to me whenever I got excited. He still always sat next to me, even knowing this extreme character flaw. He exudes warmth and intelligence and kindness and cleverness. He is the older brother I wish I had. He can’t tell Garrett Hedlund from Scott Eastwood, and he’s a real asshole for rubbing that in my face way too often on Slack, but he is also one of the most genuinely good people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. No one can fill his shoes, and not only because the motherfucker is hella tall. All my love to you, Kurt. — Roxana Hadadi



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Krut - I can’t believe you’re leaving us here with Seth, who is now the definitive worst. But the fact that you’re leaving us here with him makes you the worst. But you were already the worst, so… yeah, I don’t even know where I’m going with this. I just know that not having you around to make me question reality when you agree with me on something is going to suck, which you probably didn’t even consider before you made your big decision, did you? Of course not. Because you’re the goddamn worst. The goddamn worst with the biggest marshmallow heart. I’ll miss your stupid dumb face, jerk. — Lainey Bobainey

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TK, the first thing I ever read on the site was your review of Kiss of the Spider Woman, a post so ancient, the internet has vanished it from the world. For more than a decade, you have been the resident Ardat-Yakshi of Pajiba, absorbing films with a reckless abandon, and emerging from each with more lethality, wit and cunning. In the existential battle of you vs Seth, you now leave us naked with Seth, a fate from which very few have returned. (So, thanks a bunch for that). It’s been a true delight getting to know you in person. As great as your writing makes you seem, hanging out with you is infinitely better. Good luck out there. It’s been a rare honor. — Lord Castleton

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I’m a relatively new addition to Pajiba so I haven’t known Kurt very long, but I know enough to know that his absence will be keenly felt all around, and I count myself fortunate that our time on the site overlapped even if it was just for a few short months. — Ciara Wardlow

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Kurt, the world is better because you’re in it, and Pajiba is better because of all the heart and soul you’ve poured into it. You’re one of the good ones, and we’re the lucky ones. Come back from time to time to keep us (especially Seth) on our toes and to wield your mighty ban hammer, OK? Until then, all our love. — Sarah Carlson

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Every legend needs his own theme tune… This is a work in progress: “No-one pans like TK, no-one bans like TK, no-one upsets the 50 Shades stans like TK!” (Come back and I’ll write some more, ok?) — Hannah Sole

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No. I reject this. If TK were really stepping away, I’d wish him well in all his ventures, love to his family, and assure him I’ll still be messaging him with silliness because there is no escape from my friendship. But I won’t do that because I reject this altogether. See you Monday, TK. I’ll be bringing hot takes on sandwiches. You bring threats of assigning me sure-to-be-horrid movies to review. Good? Good. — Kristy Puchko

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I don’t even know where to begin with TK. Even though he’s got his dungeon basement, he’s been the kindest, loveliest colleague to me at Pajiba. He warmly welcomed me into this family, he’s reached out to me on my lowest days, and if I ever went to him about something, he’s always had my back. His support, humor, and intellect will be missed immensely. I can’t tell you how often he was the voice of reason during various disputes (I KNOW!) and I can’t imagine how we’ll manage to find that balance without him. Pajiba was so lucky to have him. Truly, he’s one of the best people I know. Thank you for everything, TK. I hope you know how loved you are. — Ursula Scully

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TK helped me buy a car. When I was in grad school, the crappy car I’d been driving every day died, and I had to buy a new one stat. I went out on a Saturday morning super early in order to make sure I had a car that same day. Only problem was, after finding a car, they wanted to make sure I could pay for it. And I had no real money, and no job except for “writing dick jokes on the internet.” I had an address for the business, but no phone number. Turning quickly to the Slack (or possibly our Facebook group since this was way back when), I asked if anyone knew a phone number where the “Pajiba Offices” could be reached. TK said, “Here’s my number.” His personal cell number. To someone he’d never met in real life before. So she could irrevocably associate her credit with his. He did it without considering how it might break bad for him because a friend needed something. So he showed up. And that, more so than the great movie reviews or love of whiskey or sometimes gruff demeanor, is TK. I love you, Marshmallow. — Emily “Bone” Chambers


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I leave you all one more thing, maybe the best line in the history of Pajiba reviews, from TK’s Footloose review:

Remakes are often near-misses, films that might have brought something new to the original’s idea but for some unfortunate stumbles. Footloose doesn’t stumble — it careens off of a cliff with its dick out, screaming with a vulgar incompetence, shitting its pants on the way down.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.


Header Image Source: Kurt

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