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Jon Hamm gushes over “Friends With Kids” and “Bridesmaids” costar Kristen Wiig

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Before “Bridesmaids,” there was “Friends With Kids.” Though the film is only coming out this Friday, the project that Jennifer Westfeldt wrote, directed and starred in was finished long before stars Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd reunited in “Bridesmaids.” But that’s not where the parallels between the two films end.

In both films, Hamm and Wiig play sex-happy, ill-fated partners dealing with the changes in their relationship as they grow older. And, though Hamm is less of an ass in “Friends With Kids” than he is in “Bridesmaids,” he comes out looking like the bad guy to a certain extent in both of the movies. It becomes clear while watching the and Wiig act opposite one another that the ability to portray that kind of descent into the bad parts of a relationship onscreen comes from a close friendship offscreen.

IFC had the chance to catch up with Hamm while he was promoting “Friends With Kids” and talk about his working association with Wiig. When the two previously mentioned ill-fated onscreen relationships were mentioned to Hamm, he burst out laughing. “Yeah, I love that one,” he said, meaning Wiig. “She’s a good girl, and so much fun to be opposite. But sometimes when things don’t work out is more fun.”

Though it seems as though the two actors have known one another for ages, it turns out that they only got to know each other after Hamm hosted “Saturday Night Live” back in 2008. Though Hamm admitted he and Wiig might have met before through mutual friends like Paul Rudd, it wasn’t until the “Man Men” star’s first “SNL” gig that the two of them really hit it off.

“We just clicked together on the first time I hosted, and we did a bunch of sketches together and then as I came back and hosted the show a couple more times, I don’t know, for whatever reason our energies just kind of flowed in the right way,” he said. “She’s so goddamn talented and it’s always fun to be in a scene with her, so when she asked me to do ‘Bridesmaids,’ I was like, ‘I will do whatever you want.'”

It was their rapport onscreen that convinced Hamm that Wiig was the right person to play his wife Missy in “Friends With Kids.” She tends to play outrageous characters in films and on “Saturday Night Live” that border on caricatures, so Hamm felt it was about time for her to act in a story that felt “real.”

“Not to say that she doesn’t do that, but just sad and a little more downbeat than she’s done,” he explained. “So when we cast her in this film, we were like, ‘I know you can do this. You’re going to be great.'”

And she is great in “Friends With Kids.” In one scene around a dinner table in the film, Wiig breaks down in a way that fans have never really had a chance to see before. But Wiig has obviously had the opportunity to show off her more serious side in films like “Extract,” “Whip It!” and, of course, in “Bridesmaids.”

Hamm couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful he thought Wiig’s performance and writing were in “Bridesmaids.” Her friend and onscreen costar gushed about how that performance is very similar in tone to the one she pulls off in “Friends With Kids.”

“I think that her work in ‘Bridesmaids’ was so fantastic and real and sad. As heightened and crazy as some of the scenes are in there, for me the most effective parts of that film and I think the reason why it really, really resonated with a larger audience was the fact that it was a story about a girl and a friendship with another girl,” he said. “The scene at the end when Kristen goes and finds Maya and they have that really heart-breaking talk about just, ‘I’m going to miss you and I love you,’ that stuff was the real kind of emotional core that the film was built on and she knocked it out of the park.”

And don’t expect their collaborations to stop anytime soon. Hamm just returned to “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend and it likely won’t be his last surprise appearance on the show.

“It was fun. It was really nice,” he said. “I was surprised that they asked, but very happy and it was great to see all those guys again and it was a fun show.”

Are you a fan of Hamm and Wiig’s work together? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

Exclusive: Jon Hamm says his name has come up in “a lot of superhero discussions”

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Between his memorable stint in “Bridesmaids,” recent visit to “Saturday Night Live” and upcoming role in “Friends With Kids,” it’s sometimes hard to remember that Jon Hamm is best known for his role in AMC’s hit “Mad Men” instead of his comedic talents. But there was once a chance that the man better known as Don Draper would have been known for an even different role: Superman.

Back when Zack Snyder was casting his “Superman” reboot “Man of Steel,” one of the big rumors surrounding the project was that he wanted to cast an older Superman and that Hamm — who Snyder worked with on “Sucker Punch” — was in consideration for the title role. That was quickly shot down by none other than Hamm, and Snyder ended up going the alternate route and casting Henry Cavill as a younger Superman.

There definitely was an excited fan response when it was announced that Hamm was potentially in consideration for the superhero role, though. IFC got the chance to chat with Hamm while he was promoting “Friends With Kids,” out Friday, and he said that Superman wasn’t the only comic book role he’s been in consideration for.

“I’ve been offered my share of superhero movies, but I think I’ve aged out of that,” he said.

Hamm quickly regretted his choice of words, saying that he wasn’t so much “offered” the roles as he was discussed for them. But according to the “Mad Men” star, he has had quite a few opportunities to don spandex and have super powers, only he felt that none of them were the right fit.

“My name has come up in a lot of superhero discussions,” Hamm said. “It’s a tough thing, you know? It’s a tough game to get into. I have mad, crazy respect for the people that can pull it off because it’s something that can be done poorly so easily. But, you know, it’s a big commitment and it’s probably something that, unless it’s the right thing, it’s probably not so much my jam.”

We’ve already had one taste of what he would be like as a superhero thanks to the “Saturday Night Live” sketch “The Ambiguiously Gay Duo,” and we’ve got to admit that we were fans. Beyond the comic book genre, we asked Hamm if there was a type of film that he’d like to explore. He seemed undecided in his answer, and said that he doesn’t chose his projects based on a wish list of genres or actors.

“The only way I kind of choose material is is the material interesting to me and are the people involved with it people that inspire me in some way. And I think that in every case, with every project I’ve taken on, the answer to one or both of those questions has been yes,” he explained. “I will continue to do that, and that’s kind of just the way I pick stuff to do. I’ve been fortunate enough to never be like, ‘Well, I’ve got to do this one because I’ve got to pay the rent.’ And hopefully that will never be a deciding factor.”

What superhero would you like to see Hamm cast as? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Kristen Wiig swears off “Bridesmaids” sequel

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Over the past month or so, there’s been a lot of speculation about a prospective “Bridesmaids” sequel. Both director Paul Feig and scene-stealer Melissa McCarthy have said they’d be up for more, but agreed that the decision lies in the hands of co-writer and star Kristen Wiig. Well, Wiig has spoken, and there won’t be a “Bridesmaids 2″ any time soon.

“We’re not planning on doing one,” Wiig told E! News at the Golden Globes. “We had a special time making the first one, but we’re really excited to try something else.”

That’s not entirely ruling out a sequel, but it doesn’t sound like Wiig is too into the idea. At least she didn’t vocalize her distaste for it as much as McCarthy recently did.

“God, I wouldn’t want to,” McCarthy told E! Online at the Palms Springs International Film Festival gala. “I would never want to. I think it’s a terrible idea.”

That being said, Wiig and her “Bridesmaids” co-writer Annie Mumolo are working on another new project that apparently won’t be as raunchy as “Bridesmaids” was.

“It’s going to be a little bit of a different tone but it’s going to be a comedy, for sure,” Wiig said.

Are you disappointed or pleased that there won’t be a “Bridesmaids 2″? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Portlandia walks the carpet for star-studded season premiere party

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As you were probably aware, we were really excited about the return of our hit comedy “Portlandia.” But as we got ready for the premiere of the second season of Fred Armisen’s and Carrie Brownstein’s sketch show, we realized something: Everyone else was excited too. So we did the only logical thing and threw a really big party to celebrate the return.

Last Thursday we took over the American Museum of Natural History after hours (insert your own “Night at the Museum” joke here!) For the occasion we recreated some of our favorite Portlandia venues including Women and Women First, which with apologies to Toni and Candace, we turned into a bar, and we pickled everything in sight. But the best part of the evening was seeing so many of the show’s guest stars (Andy Samberg! St. Vincent! Jason Sudeikis! Kristen Wiig!) and creators (Fred! Carrie! Jonathan Krisel! Lorne Michaels!) and fans celebrating one of our favorite shows on television. It was an incredible sight, if we do say so ourselves …and we do.

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Want the latest news from the land of Portlandia? Like us on Facebook and follow us on @IFCportlandia and use the hashtag #Portlandia.

“Portlandia” airs on IFC on Fridays at 10/9c

The 2012 Golden Globe nominees

The 2012 Golden Globe nominees (photo)

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The Golden Globes are to the Academy Awards what AAA baseball is to the major leagues, or what the Nationwide Series is to the Sprint Cup, or what the Golden Globes are to the Academy Awards: an important stepping stone on the way to the big time. They’re also a good show for watching movie stars get drunk and act a little silly, and perhaps that’s a big reason why the Globes so consistently nominate so many big name actors in lieu of smaller and oftentimes better films. Nominated stars mean attending stars mean drinking stars mean unintentional hilarity. Or maybe this year they were worried about attendance because the controversial Ricky Gervais is hosting the Globes for the third straight time.

Whatever the reason, the Globes nominees for 2011 are as star-studded as ever. George Clooney received three nominations all by himself — Best Director and Best Screenplay, “The Ides of March” and Best Actor, “The Descendants” — ensuring there will be a record number of cutaway shots of his handsome mug during the broadcast. His “Ides” co-star Ryan Gosling got nominated as Best Actor in both the Drama and Comedy categories, for “Ides of March” and “Crazy Stupid Love,” respectively. Even Angelina Jolie earned a Best Foreign Language Film nomination for her directorial debut, “In the Land of Blood and Honey.” Yes, that’s right, the famous foreign filmmaker, Angelina Jolie.

I kid, I kid. And, truth be told, the Globes have so many categories — possibly as yet another way to encourage more star attendance — that there is always room for a few welcome surprises. He’s been so far out of the Oscar race to date that he may as well be in Ireland, but Brendan Gleeson earned a very well deserved Best Actor – Comedy nomination for his hilarious and poignant turn in “The Guard,” a sadly overlooked film about an aging Irish police officer who stumbles onto a major case he is unprepared to deal with. And it’s nice to see “Bridesmaids,” a genuinely funny movie, receive a Best Picture – Comedy nod; ditto Kristen Wiig for Best Actress, though it’s a bummer her talented co-star, Melissa McCarthy, didn’t pick up her own nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

In terms of sheer numbers, “The Artist” once again led the way with six nominations. Coming in a strong second place were “The Descendants” and “The Help,” with five nods a piece. So maybe we should start adding “The Help” to the lists of Oscar frontrunners. If it ends up getting that coveted Best Picture Oscar nomination, we’ll look back at this day as an important stepping stone. The full list of 2012 Golden Globe nominees is below.

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