What to Watch on IFC: December 20 – 27

What to Watch on IFC: December 20 – 27 (photo)

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! At least that’s what the carols that are piped into every store in America want us to believe. But, not all of us have fireplaces to roast chestnuts in, and chestnuts are really expensive anyway. Eggnog isn’t for the lactose intolerant and Christmas trees exclude non-Christians and Christmas lights can cause seizures (well, maybe just the Slayer Christmas lights do that). It may be a winter wonderland where you are, but snow means treacherous driving conditions. It’s truly safer to stay inside and watch television. It’s what Santa would want.

Here’s what to watch when you’re not watching the Yule Log:


You’ve seen Black Swan twice, but never seen Requiem for a Dream? Correct that oversight tonight at midnight ET.


A young Stephen Dorff open the portal to hell in his backyard and if you spend one more day with your family, you might start scouring your parents’ backyard for mysterious holes. No highways to hell in the back acreage? Head to the theater with our Holiday Movie Guide in hand. The Gate starts at 6:30 p.m. ET.


Happy Coen Brothers Day! In honor of the release of True Grit, we’re showing their first feature film Blood Simple at 8 p.m. ET.


Watch Naked in New York at 8 p.m. ET


It’s Christmas Eve, so gather the family around the television to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail. While perhaps “Life of Brian” would be more appropriate, we don’t want to be blasphemers:


Merry Christmas! If Santa doesn’t bring you what you wanted (or if you don’t celebrate Xmas) please to enjoy our all day Freaks and Geeks marathon. The pilot kicks things off at 6 a.m. ET.


Freaks and Geeks all day and The Devil’s Rejects all night. You’re welcome.

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


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


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 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


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


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


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


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


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


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)


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


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


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


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.


15. All My Children Finale, SNL


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.

12 Days of Judd Apatow: Day 3 “Undeclared”

12 Days of Judd Apatow: Day 3 “Undeclared”  (photo)

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Welcome to Day 3 of the 12 Days of Judd Apatow. It’s like Christmas, but funnier and with fewer annoying relations. Or Hanukkah without nearly as many latkes. You can see more of the brilliant products of Apatow’s mind here and eventually here and here and here, too.

One of the most notable things about Apatow is his ability to find young talent. Would James Franco be sawing his own arm off in 127 Days without first playing Daniel in Freaks and Geeks? Would Jason Segel have found fame on both the big and small screens without his parts in Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared? And look at Busy Phillips. Her role on “Cougartown” is brilliant and, if we do say so ourselves, kind of like a grown up Kim Kelly. His roster of discoveries include Seth Rogen, Charlie Hunnam (you should really watch him in “Sons of Anarchy” on DVD), Jay Baruchel, Linda Cardellini, John Daly (“Bones”), Carla Gallo, and, of course, Martin Starr.

To celebrate Day 3, here are a few of our favorite clips from Undeclared:


Roommate War:


Undeclared airs Fridays at 11 p.m. ET, more often if you’re lucky

The Twelve Days of Judd Apatow: Day 1 Freaks and Geeks

The Twelve Days of Judd Apatow: Day 1 Freaks and Geeks (photo)

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Who would you rather have come down your chimney: An elderly obese bearded man wearing the pelts of dead animals and …velvet, or America’s number one comedy producer Judd Apatow? You don’t even need a minute to think about it, because the answer is clear: Judd Apatow, of course. Sure, Santa has a bag full of junk to stuff in your stockings and sugar plums to dance in your head, but really, who wants reindeer prancing on their roof in the middle of the night? And can you imagine the clean up required after having eight reindeer up on the eaves? You know someone named Blixen isn’t totally housebroken. Besides, Judd Apatow gives the gift that keeps on giving. By that we mean laughter, not the kind of gift that is cured with a trip to the pharmacy. Judd Apatow knows funny. And we’re fans of funny. If we remember anything from our LSAT prep class, it’s that if you like funny then logically you must like Judd Apatow, too.

Some of Judd Apatow’s new classic comedies like Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared have been in heavy rotation here at IFC. In January, our schedule fills up with even more of Apatow’s shows: The Larry Sanders Show and The Ben Stiller Show. To help ring in the new year of great programming we present “The Twelve Days of Judd Apatow”, a daily look at the comedies that spring from the mind of Judd Apatow, like Athena but without the headache. Today, a few clips from our favorite episodes of Freaks and Geeks. We Wish You A Merry Judd Apatow!

Here’s a fun and wholesome past time:

And just in time for the holidays, The Sober Student Improv Players. Don’t drink and drive, kids!

Undeclared airs Fridays at 11 p.m. ET; The Larry Sanders Show premieres on IFC January 3rd at 11 p.m. ET.

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