Did you know that Larry from “The Three Stooges” developed callouses on his face from all of Moe’s slaps?
If you’re a Stooges fan who fancies interesting facts like the one above, you better start freeing up your weekends. Every Saturday at 9:30/8:30c, IFC and Mental Floss – equipped with their aptly-named Amazing Stooges Fact Generator – will join forces for fact-filled “Three Stooges” marathons.
What’s the big idea, you say? While you watch Moe, Larry and Curly slap each other into oblivion, you’ll be treated to Stooges trivia on the lower third of the screen. Facts like…
Stooge Fact: The Three Stooges names are on a rock formation in Utah.
Stooge Fact: The Three Stooges’ sets were leftovers from feature films.
Stooge Fact: The Stooges gave Lucille Ball a big break. 1934’s “Three Little Pigskins” was one of her first roles.
For more, tune in every Saturday morning at 9:30/8:30c!
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IFC and Mental Floss Team Up for Fact-Filled “Three Stooges” Marathons
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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.
So, by now, we’ve seen the unsettling but strangely intriguing Farrelly Brothers attempt to revive The Three Stooges as franchised characters instead of being what they’ve been all these years – three (or four… well, six, technically, but we try not to think about Joe and Curly Joe) comedians with an ingenious talent for dimwittery, tomfoolery, knucklehead slapstick and zany antics. We can argue back and forth as to whether or not this was a good idea on the Farrellys’ part, but if anything, it sparked a revival in the classic films from the original comic artists, Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard and Shemp Howard. Which films, you ask? Well, how’z about we take a trip down Hilarious Lane with the 10 Best Three Stooges Shorts of All Time. Sure, let’s bust out the superlatives. They made 220 of them, so it’s all opinion anyhow, see?
10. “Hoi Polloi” (1935)
The classic trope of rich people wagering over whether or not they can transform ruffians into high society dandies works well for the Stooges, who are picked up off the street while they’re shoveling rubbish. They proceed to learn next to nothing while their benefactor pulls his hair out in frustration. Their fancy coming out party involves shaving in mixed company, spring-loaded posteriors and a new slapstick trend among the highfalutin set.
9. “Grips, Grunts and Groans” (1937)
What’s not to love about mixing the Three Stooges with professional wrestling? This one takes the same schtick as their earlier film Punch Drunks (1934) – that Curly becomes a super-buttkicker under peculiar and specific circumstances – and trades pugilism for grappling. After getting big-time wrassler Bustoff too hammered to compete, they slap a fake beard on Curly to throw him in the ring, in the effort to keep themselves from getting moidelized by the ruthless gamblers betting on the match. Curly uses the term ‘duck soup’ at one point, and one has to wonder if that isn’t a reference to their contemporaries, the Marx Brothers and their 1933 film.
8. “Three Little Pigskins” (1934)
Back when pro football was in its shady infancy and amateur athletics were the way to go, crime bosses tried to set up pro games to bet on them – and when the vagabond Stooges get mistaken for star athletes by one of the goons’ gals (another one of whom is played by a blonde Lucille Ball, no less), we get a load of running around in frilly nightgowns, and then even more running around on the gridiron with absolutely no clue how the game is played. You’ll get some similar clueless shenanigans in golf with The Three Little Beers (1935).
7. “How High is Up?” (1940)
We open with the Three Stooges sleeping underneath their car, because apparently they live there. After getting washed down the street and nearly run over by a truck, they proceed to have a protracted fight with Curly’s sweater. When they go on the run from pulling shenanigans to drum up business for their mending operation, they wind up being drafted as riveters on the 97th floor of a new skyscraper. So what do they do to solve Curly’s fear of heights? Blindfold him and set him loose on the girders. Instant comic tension!
6. “Brideless Groom” (1947)
Here’s a good one with ol’ Shemp, and it finds him with a deadline to get married or else he’ll lose half a million bucks in inheritance from his old skinflint uncle. Trouble is, he ain’t got a dame to his name, save for his most annoying singing student, who’s all too happy to tie the knot. Of course, trouble arises when the news catches wind of the story, and every woman Shemp proposed to comes barging in to beat him up until he agrees to marry them – going so far as to put Shemp’s coconut in the letter press. Chaos ensues with a lot of women beating up the Stooges and Moe’s tuchus in a bear trap.
Good news, IFC fans! You no longer have to drag your TV along with you on long commutes, to the gym, or anywhere else you want to watch our shows and Comedy Crib clips. With the IFC app, you can now stream Portlandia, Comedy Bang! Bang!, Todd Margaret, and other IFC programming directly to your Android or iOS device. There’s free full-length episodes, original web series, movies and show clips included with the app, plus even more if you have a cable subscription. You can nab the Android version here and the iOS version here.
But if that’s not enough for the diehard Portlandia fan, there’s also the Portlandia emoji keyboard — a virtual keyboard for Android or iOS devices containing a slew of show-themed emojis of Fred and Carrie’s characters, as well as recognizable items like a cacao bar and a certain messenger’s bike. Android users can grab it here, and iOS users can go here.
Want more, you say? How about a free full episode from Portlandia season six! Check in with Fred and Carrie before the sixth season premieres on January 21st at 10/9c right here on IFC.com or on the IFC app. As the kids say these days, one taste of Portlandia season six will have you like: