DID YOU READ

Welcome to The Automat: Action!

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Hello Morning People! We don’t know any of you personally, but rumor has it that you exist and that you enjoy excellent high-quality laugh-out-loud entertainment as much as people who like to sleep in until reasonable hours. Just because we don’t understand you doesn’t mean we don’t want to help you kick off your day with a laugh, so we have special programming just for you. Every day starting at 5 a.m. ET/4 a.m. CT we are showing some of our favorite comedies including cult hits Action and the Ben Stiller Show along with our original comedies Comedy Bang! Bang! and Bunk. Now you can start your day with a smile while the rest of us sleep.

While you already know and love Comedy Bang! Bang! and Bunk, you may not be as familiar with Action. Allow us to introduce you. Action follows Hollywood producer Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr) who rose from his illustrious past as a gay porn producer to become a wildly successful guns-and-gore action movie director. We meet him as he is trying to bounce back from his last film, which was a box office failure. The series, which was critically acclaimed for its, shall we say, irreverent look at Hollywood culture (just wait until you see how he gets his films funded). The show also stars the always awesome Ileana Douglas as VP of Production at Dragon’s production company, and Buddy Hackett as Peter’s uncle and chief of security. Since the show is based in La La Land, there are more than a sprinkling of cameos by A list celebrities, including Keanu Reeves and Tony Hawk. The series aired on FOX during the 1999-2000 season.

If you really want to know what Action is all about, just watch this scene. In one of the most brilliant speeches ever made in front of a fake Congressional hearing, Mr. Dragon gives Congress an earful on violence in movies and the real problem with America. Feel free to salute at the end:

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Action! airs on IFC during The Automat block kicking off everyday at 5 a.m. ET/ 4 a.m. CT. Check the schedule for details.

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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.

Five favorite moments from “Monty Python: Live at the Hollywood Bowl”

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Monty Python is a staple here at IFC. Because not only is it one of the most influential comedy programs ever created, but it never stops being laugh-out-loud funny no matter how many times you watch their zany sketches. And we have tested that theory time and time again. As much as we love The Whitest Kids U’Know and the Kids in the Hall, we know that they probably wouldn’t have existed without the lasting influence of Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman and John Cleese.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus hit the BBC in 1969. It was smart and silly, cutting edge and obscene and changed the rules for television comedy. The team behind the show managed to use their OxBridge university educations to make their laughs erudite yet accessible, and most important, funny. The Pythons went on to make now-classic comedy films, including The Meaning of Life, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian, and, of course, Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut). Now they are dominating Broadway with their musical comedy Spamalot. But the biggest sign of the greatness of Monty Python, is that the sketches are STILL hilarious, thirty years on.

Here are five of our all time favorite sketches from “Monty Python: Live at the Hollywood Bowl”, which, by the way, airs Saturday at 3:45 p.m. ET in a mini-marathon of laughs:

The Ministry of Silly Walks

The Argument Clinic

“The Philosopher’s Song”

and, of course, “Sit On My Face” [slightly NSFW]

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

“Monty Python: Live at the Hollywood Bowl” airs on IFC on Saturday at 3:45 p.m. ET; Friday, Sept. 21 at 6:45 AM ET; Friday, Sept. 21 at 4:15 PM ET; Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 10:15 AM ET; Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 4:15 PM ET

What to watch this weekend on IFC: A Bullet in the Face marathon

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This Sunday we’re showing Alan Spencer’s edgy six episode mini-series Bullet In The Face in a back-to-back block of action-packed blood-soaked thrills, chills and laughs. What better way to spend your last summer Sunday? Bullet in the Face is rooted in the dark worlds of graphic novels and film noir, but with a truly twisted sense of humor at its core. It’s a completely demented high flying pulp-action-comedy-crime thriller with just enough sci-fi elements to keep viewers guessing. We’re pretty sure you’ve never seen anything like it, unless of course you watched the series when it premiered earlier this month then you know you’re dying to see it again.

Bullet In The Face stars Eddie Izzard and Eric Roberts as two viciously funny rival crime lords happy to wipe anyone in their way off the face of the earth. And who stands in their way? Everyone, but especially Gunter Vogler (Max Williams), a sociopath criminal who got pinched by the cops and turned. Turns out he has a knack for being a cop, a psychotic cop, but still.

Look for dynamic, dazzling performances by Izzard, Roberts, and Williams along with the rest of the cast including Kate Kelton, Neil Napier, and Jessica Steen.

Watch the trailer and then be sure to tune in for back-to-back episodes of Bullet in the Face starting Sunday at 5 p.m. ET:

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

The Bullet in the Face marathon kicks off on IFC on Sunday at 5 ET/ 4CT

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