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What to Watch on IFC: November 1-November 7

What to Watch on IFC: November 1-November 7 (photo)

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Pack away the costumes, the ghoulish decorations and the horror films (well, maybe not the horror films), because it’s a whole new month, with a whole new holiday looming on the horizon. Since Thanksgiving doesn’t have as many excellent movies associated it with the fright fest that Halloween requires, we’re going to do our best to not show any turkeys. This week we have something for everyone namely, Jason Statham. He stars in Crank on Thursday at 11 p.m. ET. That should put a spring in your step even as the weather turns colder.

As the seasons change, so do the television schedules and this week is bringing a lot of change. We are bidding farewell to high school with Freaks and Geeks and reliving dorm life with Undeclared on Friday at 11 p.m. ET. Hot plate top ramen, anyone?

Here is what else you need to watch this week on IFC:

Monday

It’s your final chance to watch Freaks and Geeks live with your fellow nerds, dorks, burn outs, and, of course, Matt Singer and Will Weinand. While we’re sad to see the kids of McKinley High go, we’re are very excited to start showing Judd Apatow’s Undeclared. Luckily college has a lot of familiar faces including Seth Rogen and Jason Segel, so you won’t get homesick. So crack open a brewski and tune in at 11 p.m. ET right here to bid farewell to Freaks and Geeks.

Tuesday

At 9:30 p.m. ET IFC’s original program 360 Sessions goes behind the music with Corinne Bailey Rae. During the half hour show she talks about her return to music, her influences and career at Abbey Road Studios.

Wednesday

Tuck the kids (and pervy roommates) into bed, light a candle, and pour a glass of wine, because Indie Sex 2: Censored is on tonight at 11 p.m ET. The documentary looks at the filmmakers and special interest groups who regulate and distribute the images that shock and titillate viewers.

Thursday

It’s Jason M@#erf*cking Statham! The hottest action hero in the world (don’t argue) hits the IFC air in Crank at 11 p.m. ET. Statham stars as a former hitman who is poisoned by his ex-bosses and must keep his (and yours) adrenaline pumping or else.

Friday

Between five episodes of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret airing from 7:30 p.m. ET to 10:30 p.m. ET and the first episode of Undeclared at 11 p.m. ET. You may as well glue your remote control to the ceiling because you won’t be changing channels all night.

Saturday

Hey, look! It’s Heather Graham’s Committed at 5:55 p.m. ET. We love her. If you need a palate cleanser, stick around for some serious horror with a double feature of gross when we show Quentin Tarantino’s and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindcore Presents: Planet Terror and Deathproof. The fun starts at 10 p.m. ET.

Sunday

Wake up at noon (ET), fix yourself a breakfast cocktail and stay in bed all day with our Arrested Development marathon. Lucille Bluth would approve. Don’t bother getting up, because one of our favorite Brian De Palma films Carrie starts at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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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.

We’ll Declare It: ‘Undeclared’ is Coming to IFC

We’ll Declare It: ‘Undeclared’ is Coming to IFC (photo)

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We hate to say it, but we are nearing the end of Freaks & Geeks. Take a moment to weep into your Journey pillowcase, we’ll wait. While it’s true that the funny and painful high school comedy has run its course, but, like high school itself, college is just around the corner. And do we have a graduation present for you: Undeclared is coming to IFC.

In Undeclared, producer Judd Apatow takes his gimlet eye and trains it squarely on the college experience. We start day one, when Steven Karp leaves home and enters the freshman class at University of North Eastern California, unfortunately his dad (Loudon Wainwright III) comes along too. His dorm mates include Seth Rogen, Timm Sharp, Carla Gallo, Monica Keena, and Charlie Hunnam (now almost unidentifiable in Sons of Anarchy) with appearances from comedy stars Head RA Amy Poehler and Jason Segel. The show only lasted one season in 2001, so if you missed it the first time around, be sure to tune in now to get into the college spirit.

Undeclared premieres November 5th at 11 PM, but here are a few clips so you can give it the old college try:

What would college be without a dorm party? Boring, that’s what:

Every floor has an R.A. and these guys get Lucien:

The Best of Brian De Palma (Feel Free to Argue)

The Best of Brian De Palma (Feel Free to Argue) (photo)

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Brian De Palma’s tense thriller Blow Out airs at 8 p.m. ET tonight. It stars John Travolta as a sound man who stumbles upon what he believes is a murder, only no one believes him. Brian De Palma’s skillful direction enhances the intrigue without being overpowering. He let’s John Travolta shine as an actor while still pushing the boundaries of movie making. De Palma’s skill is in aiming for over-the-top film making, but tempering it with skilled editing and strong stories.

Brian De Palma manages to competently direct movies as varied as Obsession, Bonfire of the Vanities, and Snake Eyes, but it’s in his psychological thrillers that his skills really shine. There are few directors who would dare to try to pick up Alfred Hitchcock’s mantle, but in Body Double, De Palma gives an excellent effort. Before Blow Out airs we are taking a quick look at the best films in Brian De Palma’s body of work. Disagree? Head to the comments and tell us what movie you think belongs on the list.

Scarface may not be exactly historically accurate, but accuracy doesn’t translate to awesome anyway and there is little doubt that Scarface is awesome. Under De Palma’s directorial vision and Al Pacino’s acting skills, Tony Montana became the quintessential portrait of a frightening drug dealer with a disastrously violent ambitious streak. De Palma manages to slip in some social commentary, but it doesn’t stand a chance next to the Girls! Drugs! Guns!:

Body Double is a stylish and sexy story that is classic De Palma. It’s a near-Hitchcockian thriller with yet another murder that no one but the main character quite believes happened. The story evokes Hitchcock’s Rear Window if Grace Kelly was a porn star:

Brian De Palma’s Carrie is based on the novel by Stephen King, but under De Palma’s direction the film became a masterpiece of anxiety, tension and horror. It also features a young John Travolta in his first motion picture role. So we have De Palma to thank for Look Who’s Talking:

We’ve already talked about our love of Blow Out here, but here’s the trailer anyway because it definitely deserves a spot on the list of the best of Brian De Palma’s films:

Starring Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Andy Garcia, and Sean Connery The Untouchables is De Palma’s ode to Chicagoland gangsters. The superb performances by the actors under De Palma’s direction offers up a beautiful raunchy and rough portrait of Chicago in the Prohibition era. The Ennio Morricone score doesn’t hurt either.

Blow Out airs on IFC tonight at 8 p.m. ET

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