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Vacation

A Definitive Ranking of Every Kid From the Vacation Movies

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The Vacation movies have their share of running jokes, be it Clark’s adulterous fantasies or Cousin Eddie’s many disgusting physical ailments. But one thing that remains consistent throughout the films is the maddening inconsistency of the young actors who play Griswold kids Rusty and Audrey and their many bizarre cousins.

Not only do the actors change from film to film — the characters’ ages flucuate as well. (Rusty goes from pre-teen to teen and back to being a kid over the course of three movies.) Do the Vacation movies exist in some sort of perpetual time loop? Does the entire franchise take place in Clark’s head, a fever dream of a perfect family vacation where his kids never fully grow up? Or can the frequent cast changes be chalked up to the whims of whatever screenwriter is in charge of the franchise at the time?

Whatever the reason, the Vacation movies have given us a plethora of young actors of varying quality. Before you watch the first Vacation movie on IFC, take a look at our definitive ranking of every kid from the long-running franchise.

12. Rusty #2 (Jason Lively), European Vacation

For the second Vacation outing, Rusty went from a wisecracking kid to a horny teenager straight out of a generic Porky‘s rip-off. He’s quite possibly the single most annoying character in the entire Vacation franchise, which is quite a feat. He’s even lame in his own dream sequence, where he wears a ridiculous white suit with his name written on the back. (Fun fact: Jason Lively comes from an acting brood — his brother Eric was on The L Word and his sisters are Robin “Teen Witch” Lively and the most famous family member, Blake Lively.)


11. Rocky (Cody Burger), Christmas Vacation 

Cousin Dale, Eddie’s son from Vacation who talks about his dad’s “asteroids,” has suddenly been replaced by young Rocky by the time Christmas Vacation rolls around. Only Rocky doesn’t say a word during the entire movie. (Considering that Eddie is his dad, he’s likely traumatized.) Still, he has a pretty sweet mullet, which gives mute lil’ Rocky an edge over Rusty #2.


10. Audrey #2 (Dana Hill), European Vacation

Audrey’s body issues are a source of constant ridicule in the lackluster Vacation sequel. (She’s basically the Meg Griffin of the series.) When she’s not having horribly offensive fantasies about being stuffed with French pastries, Second Audrey is ignoring the European sights and whining about missing her lunkhead boyfriend. She’s basically every teenage girl stereotype in one grating package.


9. Audrey #4 (Marisol Nichols), Vegas Vacation

Like the sequel that she appears in, Nichols (24) is pretty forgettable. Again, Audrey’s age here is a problem. If Audrey was 15 or 16 in 1989’s Christmas Vacation, that would put her in her mid-twenties by the time 1997’s Vegas Vacation came out. But somehow she’s back to being 16 again. Clearly Clark has some sort of de-aging machine that keeps his kids from being too old to be dragged on wacky family vacations. 


8. Rusty #4 (Ethan Embry), Vegas Vacation

Embry would go on to play likeable goofballs in films like Can’t Hardly Wait and Sweet Home Alabama. But here he’s stuck playing another variation on “horny Rusty.” Only this time he goes by the smooth alter ego “Nick Papagiorgio.”


7. Cousin Vicki #1 (Jane Krakowski), Vacation 

We can’t help but see hints of Jenna Maroney in Krakowski’s big screen debut as Cousin Eddie’s oldest daughter. We also can’t help but cringe now at the line about how daddy says she’s the best French kisser in her class.


6. Cousin Vicki #2 (Shae D’Lyn), Vegas Vacation

With a father like Eddie, it’s no wonder that Vicki grew up to be a stripper who shows Audrey the Vegas nightlife.

5. Ruby Sue (Ellen Hamilton Latzen), Christmas Vacation

On the scale of precocious kids from John Hughes movies, Ruby Sue falls somewhere between Curly Sue and Gaby Hoffman’s character from Uncle Buck — cute in a ragamuffin sort of way, but mostly forgettable. (Ruby Sue turns up again in Vegas Vacation, naturally played by a different young actor.)


4. Original Audrey (Dana Barron), Vacation and Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure

Barron gets points for being the original Audrey and also for being the only Griswold kid to reprise her role. Granted, she came back as the grown-up Dana in the unwatchable TV movie Christmas Vacation sequel.


3. Audrey #3 (Juliette Lewis), Christmas Vacation

Juliette Lewis scored one of her first movie roles as the easily embarrassed teenage Audrey in Christmas Vacation. Lewis nicely underplays the role, making her easily the least annoying Audrey in the franchise.


2. Original Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall), Vacation

Anthony Michael Hall’s rising fame (he opted for Weird Science instead of the Vacation sequel) led to the Griswold kids getting recast for each subsequent installment. But that doesn’t explain their fluctuating ages.


1. Rusty #3 (Johnny Galecki), Christmas Vacation

The future Big Bang Theory star gets the nod for best — and least irritating — Griswold kid. His deadpan reactions to pop Clark prove that young Galecki had comedic chops even before his breakthrough role on Roseanne.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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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.