DID YOU READ

Swinging for The Fences: 9 Audition Home Runs

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The bonus features on the upcoming Season 9 DVD of The Office include the audition tapes of several now-famous faces who didn’t quite make the cut when it came time to cast the show. Included on the tape are Adam Scott; Seth Rogen (pre-Knocked Up); John Cho; Modern Family‘s Eric Stonestreet; and Bob Odenkirk, who was cast as boss Michael Scott before getting ousted by Steve Carrell.

The Office Strike-Outs

Here are nine other great audition tapes from stars who are now famous:

1. Steve Carell’s audition for Anchorman:


2. Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s audition for Superbad was his first audition ever:


3. Jimmy Fallon’s audition for SNL:


4. Russell Brand’s entirely improv’d audition for Forgetting Sarah Marshall:


5. Aaron Paul’s audition for Breaking Bad:

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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

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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.

10 Hollywood Ripoffs That Are Awesome Anyway

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With its penchant for endless sequels, prequels, and remakes, Hollywood is far from the most original place in the world. But sometimes this aggressive copying can lead to movies that accidentally develop their own identity amidst all the ripping off. Here are just ten of probably a million possible examples.


1. Go

Movie it Ripped-Off: Pulp Fiction
Go may not have a ton in common with Pulp Fiction when it comes to tone or plot, but its non-chronological storytelling, its pitch black humor, and it’s tendency to have characters display their quirkiness via forced pop culture references were all lifts from Quentin Tarantino’s now classic 1994 film. Luckily, it’s all for the greater good as Go offers a comedy blast from beginning to end.


2. PCU

Movie it Ripped-Off: Animal House
Every generation needs its slobs vs. snobs college movie, and ’90s kids got theirs with PCU, a film that steals so liberally from John Landis’ Animal House that it sometimes feels like an unconnected DTV sequel, like the fourth or fifth American Pie movie. Thanks to some funny performances and heaping doses of good, old fashioned nostalgia, PCU has become a minor cult classic in its own right.


3. The Fast and the Furious

Movie it Ripped-Off: Point Break
Two dudes. One’s an undercover cop. One’s a criminal. They are united by love for an extreme sport. A bromance blossoms. But duty demands that the cop betray the outlaw. Will he do it? You have to watch both Point Break or The Fast and the Furious to find out.


4. Torque

Movie it Ripped-Off: The Fast and the Furious
What goes around comes around. When you actually sit down and watch Torque, it becomes clear that director Joseph Kahn does not so much rip-off The Fast and the Furious, but parodies it. To outsiders, however, it looks like just another F&F film, albeit this time with motorcycles and Ice Cube.


5. Gamera

Movie it Ripped-Off: Godzilla
The success of Godzilla brought forth a whole industry of copycats and imitators. The best and most successful of the bunch was Gamera. This giant monster turtle somehow managed to be both more kid friendly and more violent than Godzilla, giving his films enough character to stand out on their own.

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10 Adam Sandler Movies That Are Actually Hilarious

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By Evan Saathoff

We’ve all probably seen an Adam Sandler movie of less than stellar quality. The guy makes at least one film every year, and not all of them can be brilliant. But not all of them are total duds, either. The guy has also put out some real winners in his time. Here are his ten funniest.

1. Billy Madison

Before Adam Sandler made mainstream romantic comedies for the sake of big box office returns, he made a couple masterpieces of pure infantile absurdity. Billy Madison is the more unhinged and unwieldy of the two, but it never stops pummeling you with odd, surprising jokes. From the Penguin Billy only sees when he’s drunk to the crazy lunch lady and her love of sloppy joes, this film is a classic.


2. Happy Gilmore

With Happy Gilmore, Adam Sandler improved upon the random weirdness of Billy Madison and delivered his absolutely best film ever. Sandler would immediately abandon much of what made this and Billy Madison so special, but their supremacy still lives on. Plus, it beat Arrested Development to the Carl Weathers punchline by almost a decade.


3. Big Daddy

Of all Adam Sandler’s blatantly pandering family films, Big Daddy is probably the best if only because it avoids being a blatantly pandering family film right up until the third act. Watching a cute little kid act out his fantasies without parental restraint provides more comedy than you’d think, and the little kid (played by twins, of course) is cute enough to melt even the most staunch cynic’s heart.


4. Little Nicky

Little Nicky was Adam Sandler’s first real disappointment, and it’s a shame because while obviously not a massive comedy slam dunk or anything, the film is too funny for its awful reputation. If you can get over Sandler’s weird voice, there’s a lot more to like here than people often give it credit for, particularly thanks to Quentin Tarantino’s bizarre role as a repeatedly assaulted preacher. And Popeye’s Chicken.

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