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It’s official: Danny Devito is a TV Icon

It’s official: Danny Devito is a TV Icon  (photo)

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Danny Devito has been a TV icon in our hearts forever, but now the Broadcast Television Journalists Association has made it official. Yesterday, the BTJA awarded Devito the first Critics’ Choice Television Icon Award. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” co-star Rob McElhenney presented the award to DeVito during the luncheon, which was hosted by Cat Deeley of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

The actor certainly deserves a lifetime achievement award for television. He spent five years rubbing everyone the wrong was as the loveable Louie de Palma on the classic comedy “Taxi,” where he consistently stole scenes from Judd Hirsch, Andy Kaufman, and Christopher Lloyd. Accordingly, he won an Emmy the role. Then, after a years-long hiatus, the 66-year old actor made a comic comeback as bar owner Frank Reynolds on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

While these two roles clearly put Devito in the icon category, surely the BTJA also took into consideration his roles as Roy the Stripper on “Friends,” his turn as the District Attorney in “Reno 911!: Miami” and his bit part on “Starsky and Hutch.” Undoubtedly it is these roles that put Devito over the top in the icon category over such television luminaries as Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart, Andy Griffith or Mary Tyler Moore. The BTJA’s decision to award the accolade to Devito over say, Betty White or even Carol Burnett is nothing short of brilliant and makes me, for one, trust the BTJA’s taste and opinion immensely.

“We are thrilled that Danny DeVito is our first Critics’ Choice Television Icon because, as the first recipient, he will define it for the future,” said Joey Berlin, acting president of the BTJA in The Hollywood Reporter. “We are recognizing Danny for his contributions both in front of and behind the camera, but also off camera. With Danny, we are able to pay homage to the past as well as celebrate the present, as his career has been remarkable for its continued relevance, from “Taxi” to “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”.”

The honor is well deserved for a man of his skill, talent, and willingness to wear skinny jeans in public:

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons user Gage Skidmore. Thanks!

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.

AMC’s “The Killing” Season Finale: You’ll Be Back

AMC’s “The Killing” Season Finale: You’ll Be Back (photo)

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One thing AMC knows how to do well is get people talking. The season finale of their hit procedural drama “The Killing” aired last night, and it is the show that everyone is buzzing about this morning. After 13 weeks of perfectly crafted episodes filled with twists, turns, missteps, and lots and lots of Seattle rains, the finale (no spoilers) left a lot of questions to be answered. Most notably, will fans stick around for another season?

Many fans of “The Killing” are comparing the show’s ending to the series finale of another great show, “The Sopranos.” While fans of the mafia crime drama were irate at the ending, which cut to black as fans sat on the edge of their seats while Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” filled the air and Meadow Soprano performed the world’s worst parallel parking job, ask yourself, would you watch another episode of “The Sopranos” if it aired today? Heck yeah, you would. Just because a finale has you angry enough to chuck the remote at the TV, doesn’t mean it’s bad television. It means it is getting under your skin and getting you engaged. You want more. Do you stop reading a great book after a weak chapter? No. (People who read all 5,000 pages of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” know what I mean.) While many fans of “The Killing” may be annoyed by the finale, you have to admit you want to know what happens next.

Luckily, we already know that the show has been renewed for a second season. The question now is: What will that second season look like?

The season finale isn’t up yet, but you can watch full episodes and clips of “The Killing” online at AMC, like this one here:

What did you think of the ending of “The Killing”? Tell us on Twitter and Facebook.

Dave Chappelle Is (Finally) (Maybe) Working On A New Show

Dave Chappelle Is (Finally) (Maybe) Working On A New Show (photo)

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Dave Chappelle is planning his comeback. Maybe. Six years after shutting down production on his hilarious “Chapelle Show,” the comic is rumored to be starting production on a new show. However, the rumor mill has it that the controversial comedian does not want to return to network television, and is instead hoping to air the show on a subscription service such as Netflix or Hulu.

Fans (and undoubtedly the network) were shocked when Chappelle famously flamed out on his old show, seemingly out of the blue. Chappelle walked out weeks before production started on the third season. Citing a lack of creative freedom, not only did he bail on the hit show, but also on the a $50 million dollar contract that went with it. Instead of showing up to work, he fled to Africa and then went on Oprah, as one does. Since then he’s been living a low-key life and performing a string of stand-up gigs. Now it seems he may be ready to get back in the TV game.

The Daily reported yesterday that while Chappelle is ready to return to television, he was not planning on returning to a network anytime soon. Rather, Chappelle was hoping to launch the new project on a subscription service like Netflix or Hulu. Since Netflix has already dropped $100 million on their first made-for-Netflix drama — the David Fincher and Kevin Spacey-driven “House of Cards” — this is not an implausible option. Except for the fact that his reps are denying it that any of it is true.

Yep, all these rumors that got fans of the offbeat comic twitterpated were denounced as “absolutely untrue” by Chappelle’s rep. Go ahead start weeping and rending your clothes and wearing sack cloth and ashes, because there Chappelle is not going to back on TV in the near future. But don’t worry, you’ll always have this:

And this:

And, of course, “I’m Rick James, bitch!”:

See? Thanks to the internet life is still worth living.


What was your favorite sketch from “Chappelle Show”? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter.

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