Kumail Nanjiani: From Portlandia to Bunk


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Careful and eagle-eyed television watchers may have noticed that here at IFC we are big fans of Kumail Nanjiani. Sure the comedian has performed his stand up routines on the Late Show With David Letterman, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and Conan, but he really shines in his roles on our shows, if we do say so ourselves. And we do. Kumail first appeared in season one of Portlandia as a very helpful clerk at a cell phone store:

Then, during season two of Portlandia, that same clerk then moved to California and became a waiter at a lovely dining establishment known as Around the World in 80 Plates:

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Will Kumail appear in the third season of Portlandia? We will have to wait until January to find out. Thankfully we don’t have to wait that long to get more Kumail, because he is one of the elite cadre of comedians who get to be a contestant on our new show Bunk. Watch as he succumbs to host Kurt Braunohler’s peer pressure and shames a puppy in this clip:

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Want the latest news from Bunk? Like us on Facebook and follow us on @IFCtv.

“Bunk” premieres on IFC on June 8th at 10:30 p.m. ET; “Portlandia” returns January 2013

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.

What to watch on IFC tonight: “The Perfect Storm”


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All this week we’re showing Movies That Go Bang! Bang! which naturally means we’re showing some pretty manly movies. And when we say manly, we aren’t just talking about Arnold Schwarzeneggar running around as “Conan the Barbarian” in a loin cloth with a giant sword. Actually, now that we think about it, that may not be nearly as man’s man of a movie as “The Perfect Storm.” Nothing says burly manliness like George Clooney in a turtleneck, right?

Based on the best-selling book by Sebastian Junger, “The Perfect Storm” tells the story of a fishing vessel bound for a date with a hurricane and a cold front that somehow created the worst weather ever known to man. The movie follows the ship’s brave and hard-working crew as they head out on their fateful trip. (We’ll stop singing the Gilligan’s Island theme song if you do.) Billy Tyne (George Clooney), captain of the Andrea Gail, hasn’t had much luck finding catch on his most recent trips to sea, and with money short, he and his crew — Bob Shatford (Mark Wahlberg), Dale Murphy (John C. Reilly), and David Sullivan (William Fichtner) set out again when they hear that the fish are running. Billy’s hunch proves correct, but when the ship’s refrigeration system goes haywire, they have to return to shore as quickly as possible before the fish spoil, sending them into the middle of the worst storm in history. The end is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it’s not completely captivating to watch it unfold. So tune in tonight at 8 or 10:45 p.m. ET and watch “The Perfect Storm.”

Tomorrow: “Escape From LA”

Watch the trailer here and tune in tonight:

Want the latest news from IFC? Like us on Facebook and follow us on @IFCtv.

“The Perfect Storm” airs on IFC tonight at 8:00 PM ET and 10:45 PM ET and Sunday, May. 20 at 8:00 PM ET and and 10:45 PM ET

What to watch on IFC tonight: “Conan the Barbarian”


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When Arnold Schwarzeneggar as Conan yells “You killed my mother! You killed my father, you killed my people! You took my father’s sword!” there is little doubt that “Conan the Barbarian” is a great great movie. The dramatic tale begins when a horde of rampaging warriors massacre the parents of young Conan and enslave the young child for years on The Wheel of Pain. Unlike the Wheel of Fortune, the Wheel of Pain only purpose seems to be building up Conan’s muscles. (Apparently it doesn’t care about his mind at all.) It’s no surprise that one day wee little Conan grew up to become Arnold Schwarzenegger, Man of Steel. As the sole survivor of the childhood massacre, Conan is released from slavery and taught the ancient arts of fighting, which naturally transforms him into a killing machine. (Have these people not seen “Kill Bill”?) As is his wont, and without a proper shirt to cover those bulging muscles, Conan decides to seek vengeance on Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones), the man responsible for killing his family. In the wilderness, Conan takes up with the thieves Valeria (Sandahl Bergman) and Subota (Gerry Lopez), who are probably not very good role models, but since he doesn’t have parents there is no one to complain. The trio comes upon a weird snake cult, linked to Doom, and Conan wants to trek off to Doom’s mountain retreat to kill him, but he is prevented from doing that by King Osrik (Max Von Sydow), who wants the trio of warriors to help rescue his daughter who has joined Doom in the hills. Like we said, it’s a dramatic story. One that you can watch tonight at 8 or 10:45 p.m. ET on IFC as part of our week long look at Movies That Go Bang! Bang!

Tomorrow: “The Perfect Storm”

Watch the trailer for “Conan the Barbarian” below and remember that’s the former Governor of California:

“Conan the Barbarian” airs on IFC tonight at 8:00 PM ET and at 10:45 PM ET and Friday, May. 18 at 8:00 PM ET and at 10:45 PM ET

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