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DID YOU READ

10 ironic comedy remakes

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This is the era of revamping other eras. That is, the ideas of yore are being mined constantly for the potential to become blockbuster movie franchises to fuel sequel after sequel, and it usually works. In some cases, the best way to make it work is to take something old, strip away the cheesier elements and turn it into something cool and badass. However, in some cases – a prime example being Tim Burton’s satirical take on the goth-soap drama “Dark Shadows” – the cheese is too irresistible, and the remakers instead opt to celebrate those elements with sarcasm, loving mockery and ironic flair. Let’s take a look at ten of these particular efforts.


1. “21 Jump Street” (2012)

One of the more recent efforts in this style seems to be the most well received, as the dramatic teen-heartthrob vehicle from the late ‘80s about young-looking rookie cops being assigned to undercover duty in a local high school gets a raucous send-up that does nothing but mock itself as well as the entire concept of remaking old stuff. Even some of its original cast shows up to do the same thing, but it’s really the Channing Tatum/Jonah Hill show, as their clueless characters stumble into ridiculous situations which play out to a surprisingly hilarious effect, proving that a man named Channing has to develop a sense of humor somewhere along the way.


2. “The Green Hornet” (2011)

After this property bounced around Hollywood for years and went through the obligatory rejected Kevin Smith pitch, Michel Gondry and Seth Rogen finally took a crack at relaunching the movie serial superhero that was turned into a TV series featuring Bruce Lee back in the 1960s. Although he brought Jay Chou in as the competent sidekick Kato, Rogen himself played crusading reporter Britt Reid as more of a bumbling party guy who suddenly had to grow up, but not fast enough to keep himself from looking like an idiot in this new endeavor. Poking fun at superhero movie conventions, Kato agrees to become a masked vigilante, but refuses tights. It didn’t go over quite as well.


3. “Starsky & Hutch” (2004)

A beloved 1970s cop show became a winking buddy cop movie in 2004 for Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, and you know those guys couldn’t take something like this all that seriously. If their mockery of old school car-chase-heavy action-dramas doesn’t get you, perhaps Snoop Dogg co-starring as their slick pal Huggy Bear, Will Ferrell’s perverted prison informant and Vince Vaughn as the ridiculously-moustachioed bad guy will. There’s even some Jason Bateman action to enjoy.


4. “The Brady Bunch Movie” (1995)

In 1995, this riff on the cheery ‘70s sitcom about a guy with three boys marrying a woman with three girls took the self-referential parody to heights it hadn’t reached before, taking the family directly out of the 1970s and throwing them into the too-hip-for-the-room 1990s world. Complete with outdated musical numbers while gallivanting through a Sears. Gary Cole and Shelley Long are the Brady elders, and Ben Stiller’s wife Christine Taylor looks so eerily like the original Marcia Brady Maureen McCormick that it’s been difficult to see her in any other role at all.


5. “Dragnet” (1987)

The long-running no-nonsense police drama starring Jack Webb was brought to comic life in 1987 by Dan Aykroyd doing a pitch-perfect monotone riff on Webb’s stuffy persona, playing his character’s nephew Joe Friday. Tom Hanks, back when he was still known entirely for comedy, was his modern partner Pep Streebek. While the film remains funny and charming, complete with the incomparable Dabney Coleman as a smut king and Christopher Plummeras the villain, one has to wonder about the level of self-awareness. Sure, they were obviously having fun with the concept, but somehow, they thought it was a good idea to rope Aykroyd and Hanks into rapping. Yes, in case you forgot, here is their Dragnet rap “City of Crime.” Watch it and wonder just how aware of themselves they actually were.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.