It’s a damn shame, but death comes for us all. However, for some of us, it comes way too soon, and the comedy business is no exception. These people should still be alive if there was any justice in the universe.
1. PHIL HARTMAN
Always the number one, because the way he went out was so surreal, wrong and awful, being shot by his drugged-out wife. He was perhaps the greatest performer and hands-down the best utility player in “Saturday Night Live” history – not to mention his beloved work on “The Simpsons” and “NewsRadio.”
2. BILL HICKS
Pancreatic cancer took this soothsayer away before he could really enjoy the praise that’s been rightly bestowed on him after his death. We’d love to hear what he’d have to say about the crap going on today.
3. PATRICE O’NEAL
His combative style burned a lot of bridges in his day, but just as he was really coming into his own success, a stroke robbed us of his genius – and his first album had to be released posthumously.
4. RICHARD JENI
This one was a huge surprise, as the venerable stand-up comic shot himself in the head shortly after being diagnosed with clinical depression and paranoia issues. But he left behind some highly amusing work.
Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.
Posted by Luke McKinney on 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 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.
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.
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.
We can expect a sharp decline in our GDP come May 27: It’s the day after the hotly awaited fourth season of “Arrested Development” will be unveiled on Netflix, and, as such, will be responsible for everyone spending that day looking for opportunities to be injecting references into conversations instead of, you know, working. Although the show didn’t live very long, and it was on the air a long time ago, the show has built up a rabid fan base — obviously, one strong enough to warrant more episodes a decade later.
The fourth season will reportedly be structured rather differently from the previous episodes, with not all the characters appearing in all of the episodes, but the entire cast will be represented across the run. Nevertheless, this is undeniably an “Arrested Development” reunion — but did you know there actually have been lots of smaller scale reunions of similar scale, too? Obviously, you did. That’s why you’re reading this, and reading this far. Or that’s why you’ve skipped over these two paragraphs and are diving into the blurbs and video clips below. Either way, I’m gonna go perfect my mayonegg recipe.
1. Jason Bateman and Michael Cera: “Juno”
Although they didn’t appear in scenes together in Diablo Cody’s breakout 2007 film, and I generally avoided instances like this, “Juno” merits inclusion because it was one of the very first times multiple “Arrested Development” actors appeared in the same project, period, after its cancellation in 2006. In this movie Jason Bateman and Michael Cera play semi-analogous versions of the same character: a boy ushered into manhood too quickly (Cera’s character done got Juno preggers in high school), and a man pining for his youth (Bateman’s character never got over his adolescent dreams of becoming a rockstar).
2. Michael Cera and Mae Whitman: “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”
Don’t recognize the name “Mae Whitman?” Really? You don’t recognize “her?” Yes, Ann and George Michael are reunited in Edgar Wright’s brilliant cinematic interpretation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s ingenious graphic novel series equating romance with video games. Cera plays the titular character, who’s a slightly more nervous but also slightly more self-assured version of his usual baseline character, whereas Whitman plays Roxanne “Roxy” Richter, who couldn’t be more different from Ann. She emotes! She’s a ninja! She’s not just into the secular flesh; she’s also a lesbian!
3. Will Arnett and Jason Bateman: “Mansome,” many others
On “Arrested Development,” GOB and Michael are constantly at odds with each other: They’re the ant and grasshopper fable come to life, with a twist. Michael works hard and almost never gets results, whereas GOB doesn’t work hard at all and performs illusions (not magic tricks). In reality, though Bateman and Arnett are almost like brothers. If the above video of them enjoying a spa day together for the 2012 documentary “Mansome” doesn’t prove it, consider the fact that they have started a business together, Dumbdumb Entertainment. The company brings a comedic flair (really) to advertising, usually in successful ways. In Bateman’s own words, “Will Arnett and I make funny shorts that have products integrated organically.” So, in other words, there are lots and lots of commercials for companies like Orbit, Denny’s, Old Navy that helped pay for all those $100,000 suits those guys like to wear.
4. Will Arnett and David Cross and Mitch Hurwitz and David Schwartz: “Running Wilde”
“Running Wilde,” the 2010 show, about a pompous bachelor (Will Arnett, natch) who attempts to woo a childhood sweetheart, didn’t last very long: after 13 episodes, it was dunzo. But, it did reunite those two with another pair of “Arrested Development” names: David Cross (the love interest’s fiancé) and “AD” composer (who plays the composer, an unseen character who writes all the music for the series).
5. David Cross and Will Arnett: “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret”
David Cross teamed up with IFC (a great channel) to make this show about Todd Margaret, a man so out of depth he makes Tobias Funke seem somewhat sane by comparison. Margaret takes a job running the London sales team for an energy drink, Thunder Muscle, but there’s only one problem: He knows nothing about British culture, sales, and how to sell to British people. Arnett plays Cross’ boss, and guess what: A familiar dynamic emerges, wherein Arnett dumps all over Cross, like so much club sauce on a plate of chicken fingers. Man, what a great IFC show: Take it from us.
6. Tony Hale and Will Arnett: “Up All Night”
“Up All Night” is seemingly drifting to being canceled right now (creator Emily Spivey departed in January, co-star Christina Applegate announced she was leaving in February, and Arnett has been cast in a now CBS pilot), but if nothing else it gave the world a reunion of the actors who played GOB and Buster on “Arrested Development.” They even slipped in a slick reference to the show, with Hale calling Arnett his brother in a hip, urban way.
7. Jessica Walter and Jeffrey Tambor and Judy Greer: “Archer”
If you haven’t been watching “Archer,” you’ve missed out on a steady stream of “Arrested Development” reunions. Judy Greer (Kitty) is a regular, as is Jessica Walter (Lucille Bluth), but on two separate occasions, Jeffrey Tambor (George Bluth Sr., Oscar Bluth) has guest starred as two different characters. Yes, they sound pretty much the same, but who cares: It’s George Sr. and Lucille, reunited!
Do you have any favorite “Arrested Development” reunions? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.
Tobias Funke is the world’s most famous never-nude, but it is his too-good-to-be-true Fruedian Slips and repressed homosexuality that make him the most quotable character on “Arrested Development.” In anticipation of the Season 4 premiere, and the inevitable gay innuendo, here is a list of Tobias Funke’s best lines.
10. “Where the F*** are my hard boiled eggs?”
Tobias explains that it’s always important to express your feelings, because they’ll come out in unexpected ways – like losing your temper over hard boiled eggs. Cue the Charlie Brown music.
9. “I guess you could say I’m buy-curious!”
Buying a female wig - we mean a bob wig - is something that can't be rushed. Hence Tobias is buy-curious. If only he'd just admit he's also curious about naked men.
8. “Do these effectively hide my thunder?”
As a never-nude, it is of utmost importance to make sure the thunder is effectively hidden.
7. “OH MY GOD WE’RE HAVING A FIRE…sale.”
As a professional “acteur” Tobias always puts forth his dramatic best, even if it usually ends up leading to complete disaster.
6. “Oh man, I can just taste those meaty leading man parts in my mouth.”
Would it be better if he said leading man roles? Probably not. Oh Tobias, just admit it. We'll still love you.