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SXSW 2012: The Suckers interview and performance of “Chinese Braille”

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The Suckers are one of those bands that a lot of people know, but no one wants to talk about, because they are so good, people want to keep them to themselves. The Brooklyn-based foursome brings to mind early Talking Heads as well as David Bowie, but the band finds grooves all their own with exuberant melodies and psychotropic hooks. Similarly, the Suckers’ predilection for three-part vocals begs references to Animal Collective, but the group is wholly original in their freeform and rowdy style. Their initial EP was impressive enough for MTV, to name Suckers their “breakout band of 2010,” and luckily the band has continued to live up to their promise and their reputation.

The Suckers stopped by IFC’s studio at SXSW 2012 for an acoustic performance of their song “Chinese Braille” off their new release “Candy Salad.”:

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After their set, The Suckers sat down with IFC’s music host Chris Keating of Yeasayer. Fun fact, Anand Wilder, also of Yeasayer, produced the band’s first EP.

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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.

SXSW 2012: Nada Surf interview and acoustic performance of “Looking Through”

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Nada Surf has been making waves with their music since they formed way back in 1992 in New York City. Their song “Popular” was the summertime anthem of 1996 and introduced the band’s chilled out rock sounds to a broader audience. But Nada Surf is no one-hit wonder and the band has released seven strong albums and steadily built their fan base by constantly criss-crossing the country on tour. The trio, lead by Matthew Caws, has continued peddling their no-frills power-pop over two decades and they show no signs of slowing down. Which is a good thing when a band consistently produces stunning chords and choruses over and over again.

On the eve of their upcoming tour (which kicks off March 20th in Los Angeles, CA at the Music Box) in support of their latest album “The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy”, Nada Surf swung by IFC’s studio at SXSW 2012 for an acoustic performance of their song “Looking Through.”

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After their incredible acoustic performance, the band sat down to talk shop with Yeasayer’s Chris Keating, the IFC music host for SXSW 2012:

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SXSW 2012: Built to Spill play “Traces”

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If you’re a music fan, chances are you have heard of Built to Spill. In a constantly evolving sea of flash-in-the-pan upstarts, Built to Spill have managed to maintain a hold on the indie rock scene since their inception in Boise, Idaho in 1992, putting out seven full-length albums over the years. Their longevity is due to their ability to put out albums that resonate with listeners of all makes, models and ages. From their debut album “Ultimate Alternative Wavers” to their latest release, “There Is No Enemy,” in 2009, the band has blended charmingly obtuse lyrics, foot-tapping tunes, and the occasional wonky guitar hook to appeal to jam-band fans everywhere while staying true to their almost-twee indie roots.

At SXSW, Built to Spill headlined a showcase of Idaho bands that packed the IFC Crossroads House with fans eager to catch the indie rock legends in action. Watch here as the band performs their song “Traces”:

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