DID YOU READ

Fix, Olivia Wilde, Tao Ruspoli

Fix, Olivia Wilde, Tao Ruspoli (photo)

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You may be aware by now of actress Olivia Wilde. I guess she’s been in every glossy guy spread from Maxim to GQ in a bathing suit. She’s also made her mark on TV in House M.D., and unfortunately the show beloved by the Bush twins, The OC. But she’s not all vapid teen drama, in fact she came to my attention with “Tron Legacy” where we she will play a “loyal confidant to Kevin Flynn.” Tron 2.0, as it was formerly called, will be first rate cinema spectacle when it’s released in 2010 and should cement Wilde as a real star. You know the kind who reads, campaigns for progressive politics and is genuinely interesting.

Her parents, Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, (Olivia took the show name “Wilde” from Oscar) are hotshot investigative journalists. “‘Olivia was exposed to a lot of very clever people when she was little,” [Leslie Cockburn told GQ]. She recalls Olivia eavesdropping one night on a conversation between Richard Holbrooke and Mick Jagger–until the Rolling Stone turned around and shooed Olivia to bed. “How many girls were told to go to bed by Mick Jagger?”

Olivia added “I’d fall asleep listening long before I understood what they were talking about,” she says. “I appreciated the constant excitement, the murmur of all these engaged conversations. Christopher Hitchens used to babysit me when I was young” [GQ]

One can only imagine the myriad effects a radical contrarian like Christopher Hitchens could have upon the formative years of a young girl. I bet she likes a good argument and a great glass of wine. But enough speculation, Olivia is in a film by Tao Ruspoli called “Fix” that opens November 20th that has piqued my interest. It’s based on a true story about Ruspoli’s brother and how after a drug conviction he was given the choice of rehab or 3 years in prison. The trick was that he had to show up before a limited deadline and pay a huge deposit to the rehab clinic to be admitted.

The film (like the real event) is a race across LA by “documentary filmmakers Bella and Milo” to get Milo’s blown out brother, Leo, from jail to rehab before the deadline. They get hampered by strange characters while also trying to find the money to admit him – perhaps a lucrative but ironic drug deal will prove the only way to make it happen.

“Fix” features music by Dead Prez , Ima Robot, Simon Dawes, Beautiful Girls, and Nico Stai. The handsome director and Founder of The Los Angeles Filmmakers’ Cooperative, Tao Ruspoli, is married to Olivia Wilde in the real world, sorry you drooling dreamers.

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

maryhartman

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

ikea heights

IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

fresno

When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

soap

Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

cooks2

Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

darkplace

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

attitudes

Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

peaks

Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

invitation

Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

stomach

The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

joey

Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

acorn

First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

pointplace

In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

spoils

Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

spoilsdying


15. All My Children Finale, SNL

allmychildren

SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

That 70s Show Fez

Good Day, Fez!

10 Quotes That Prove Fez is That ’70s Show’s Secret Weapon

Get groovy with Fez on That '70s Show Mondays and Tuesdays from 6-11P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Carsey-Werner Productions

Who is Fez? Wilmer Valderrama’s foreign exchange student was a lot of things on That ’70s Show. Loveable. Confusing. Creepy. For eight seasons he operated as the heart of the show, adding a pinch of weird to their ’70s stew. If Kelso was the show’s puppy, and Hyde its attack dog, Fez was the loveable stray you welcomed into your house, and then found humping the vacuum cleaner. Before you catch Fez on That ’70s Show (airing Mondays & Tuesdays from 6-11P on IFC), we thought it was high time to revisit some of his funniest and weirdest lines, from hitting on girls to hitting on himself.


10. He knows how to pamper himself.

Carsey-Werner Productions

Carsey-Werner Productions


9. He’s a deeply spiritual man.

Carsey-Werner Productions

Carsey-Werner Productions


8. He has his priorities straight.

Carsey-Werner Productions

Carsey-Werner Productions


7. And he doesn’t work for free.

Carsey-Werner Productions

Carsey-Werner Productions


6. He knows when enough is enough.

Carsey-Werner Productions

Carsey-Werner Productions


5. And always minds his manners.

Carsey-Werner Productions

Carsey-Werner Productions


4. Really, he’s a kid at heart.

Carsey-Werner Productions

Carsey-Werner Productions


3. He has modest dreams.

Carsey-Werner Productions

Carsey-Werner Productions


2. And still knows how to kick back.

Carsey-Werner Productions

Carsey-Werner Productions


1. And of course, when to say “Good Day!”

Carsey-Werner Productions

Carsey-Werner Productions

Fred Armisen and Horatio Sanz for Mas Mejor

Unbox the Funny

Fred Armisen and Horatio Sanz Play Serious Toy Collectors In Mas Mejor’s Debut Video

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Photo Credit: Más Mejor

Looking for more comedy from Fred Armisen to tide you over until the return of Portlandia on January 21st? Well, then you definitely need to check out the new video that reunites Fred with his former SNL pal Horatio Sanz.

Fred and Horatio have joined forces with Broadway Video (the makers of Portlandia and Documentary Now!) and NBCU Telemundo to launch a brand new digital studio called Más Mejor which will focus on Latin comedy. The studio will produce and distribute comedy shorts, original series and more in both English and Spanish on multiple media platforms, and it has partnered with stars like Fred and Horatio to bring the funny to the new network. To celebrate its launch this week, Más Mejor released this very funny and charming short piece starring Fred and Horatio as two adorably earnest unboxers of TV show action figures.

Check out the video below, and visit the Más Mejor YouTube page for more great stuff. And for even more Fred, click here to watch a free pre-premiere episode from the new season of Portlandia. You can also watch the episode — and lots of other great stuff like episodes of Comedy Bang! Bang! and Todd Margaret — right now on the IFC app.

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