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DID YOU READ

John Goodman sings.

John Goodman sings. (photo)

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Zealous “Roseanne”-loving friends recently pointed out to me that there’s actually an episode of the show in which John Goodman sings. They were right, and it was delightful. It made me wonder: Had Goodman — a fairly intense actor whose goofy charm belies serious skill — sung on other occasions? And the answer was… yes! From best to worst:

“People Like Us,” from “True Stories” (1986)

Goodman’s on-screen singing career peaked early, bringing down the house at the climax of David Byrne’s uneven-but-engaging sole foray in narrative feature film. As shy, roly-poly bachelor Louis Fyne, Goodman waits the whole movie to make his ultimate move in the quest for matrimony, then belts it out. The song, “People Like Us,” is a more ambivalent relative of “The Big Country,” a tribute to those living unseen between the coasts, “people like us, who will answer the telephone,” in Byrne’s part acute, part condescending formulation. Goodman’s rendition removes all condescension.

“Good Golly Miss Molly,” from “King Ralph” (1980)

This long-forgotten snobs-vs.-slobs vehicle was directed by David S. Ward, who wrote “The Sting.” John Goodman inherits the peerage, noble heart vs. antiquated moors, etc. I don’t really understand how it all leads to a duet with Little Richard, who appears as Goodman’s striding down a hallway. Someone asks him who he is. “I’m the king.” No, he’s assured, that’s the king. Cue “Good Golly Miss Molly” with a terrifying, satanically leering Richard, who ends the bit by flicking all the keys off the piano.

“If I Didn’t Have You,” from “Monsters, Inc.” (2001)

This end-credits song from “Monsters, Inc.” isn’t very good. It’s from Randy Newman’s late-period softy phase, and it’s impossible to remember that this same man once wrote, say, “Sail Away.” But it yielded a priceless moment of Goodman and Newman duetting at the Oscars as if they were equals on the musical spectrum.

“Roll Back The Rock (To The Dawn of Time),” from “We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story” (1993)

Released the same summer as “Jurassic Park” as a kindlier, friendlier dinosaur flick for the kiddies — Spielberg’s Amblin studios cover all their commercial bases, natch — this is the film where friendly dinos come to New York and enchant children or something. In a big welcoming parade, John Goodman (as a Rex named “Rex’) leads the festivities with a series of bad paleolithic/rock ‘n roll puns (“blow your cool just like a volcano”). But his T.Rex is surprisingly agile and loose on his feet — just like the real Goodman.

“The Bare Necessities,” from “The Jungle Book 2” (2003)

Essentially a desecration of the original version that’s sad and pointless. But again, a limber bear, just like real-life Goodman.

“Let There Be Snow,” from “Frosty Returns” (1992)

One of Goodman’s least enthusiastic performances, this number comes from an ill-conceived TV sequel. Cheap, shoddy and time capsule-ishly fixated on the destruction of the ozone layer, the enterprise did not prosper. In the inane Goodman-and-child duet below, they celebrate the charms of the season — “Let there be snow/let there be snow/this kind of weather brings people together/so friendships can grow” — over a faux-ska beat. Fortunately, Brian Doyle-Murray’s Mr. Twitchell breaks things up with a villainous rap interlude.

“Santa’s Family,” from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie” (1998)

By far the ghastliest object on this list, this song is from a thinly remembered animation cheapie that makes Rudolph save his reindeer love Zoey when she’s imprisoned by evil Ice Queen Stormella. Before all that, Santa Goodman sings about his family system: “Everybody’s a somebody in Santa’s family” is one of the least cringey bits. The musical arrangement sounds like Bob Dylan’s christmas album.

[Photo: “True Stories, Warner Bros., 1989]

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.