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DID YOU READ

Ten classic TV comedies that would never get made today

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Television history is full of classic, groundbreaking comedies that have stood the test of time while also being a product of their time. It is also full of a lot of steaming clunkers that never went anywhere and rightly so. These days, with eight billion channels and eight billion remakes, it might be inconceivable that there are any concepts that worked well in the past which wouldn’t get made today. However, when you consider that most of those eight billion channels are just shows where they shove a camera in the face of somebody doing their job and force them to compete against some other guy somewhere else doing the same job, it starts to make a little more sense. So here’s a list of ten famous comedies of yore that likely wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being made in today’s cynical pop culture climate.


1. “All In the Family”

One of the greatest shows of all time, and it likely wouldn’t get made today. Why? In part because its central protagonist is an unabashed racist constantly throwing out slurs and honest bigotry. You may argue that you see that kind of thing all the time, but these days it has to be done by either making that character cartoonishly stupid and annoying like Peter Griffin or constantly defused by the ironic quips of his likable supporting cast, like Pierce Hawthorne. Carroll O’Connor’s Archie Bunker, however, remained the most popular guy on the show. There’s also the fact that Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton), Archie’s completely steamrollable “dingbat” wife, could not remain so consistently and meekly deferent to her husband in any modern show of the politically correct era. And there’s more – see #2.


2. “Maude”

This 1972 spin-off of All In The Family shares a sensibility with it, and that sensibility is the reason neither of these shows would be made today – the notion of earnest, heartfelt political debate on a sitcom is anathema these days. Maude was Edith Bunker’s cousin, and the show centered around her strident liberal leanings as a mighty feminist, and she was a beloved hero of her show just as Archie was on his. Even though our culture today is too P.C. to allow a true-to-form Archie, it’s equally too anti-P.C. to allow an honestly strident activist like Maude without dousing her with ironic detachment as well – see Britta Perry. Perhaps television is just ahead of the curve, and we’re supposed to be living in an enlightened society that doesn’t have to butt heads about racism and sexism so much anymore – but the 24-hour news cycle would seem to indicate otherwise.


3. “Hogan’s Heroes”

No matter how successful this 1965-1971 series was, no matter how likable these war heroes are, and no matter how harmless the antagonists are made to seem, there is absolutely no way on Earth that any network would set a situation comedy in a Nazi prison camp. Certainly not in the post-Schindler’s List world. Hell, maybe not even in a post-Auto Focus world.


4. “My Mother the Car”

You see, Jerry Van Dyke played a lawyer whose dead mother’s ghost inhabited a crappy old 1928 car, and spoke only to him through the radio, while a nasty car collector named Captain Manzini always tried to take it from him. Even if you take this idea and load it up with absurd irony, as Dan Harmon did with the talking-motorcycle show Heat Vision and Jack, networks won’t touch it – especially not now, when they can just hire a bunch of post-celebrities and make them dance for fame instead. To be fair, though, My Mother The Car wasn’t even a hit back then. It’s just legendary in its ridiculousness.


5. “F-Troop”

Odds are we’re not going to get a sitcom set in the Old West anytime soon, but compounding the matter is the fact that F-Troop sported some of particularly awful depictions of Native Americans, as played by Yiddish comedians using broken English and using tribal names that are bad puns. Even in today’s South Park era where racist Asian accents are mainstream comedy again, we tend to leave American Indians alone. As well we should.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…