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American Flashback

See the American Pie Cast Then and Now

Catch the American Pie movies this month on IFC.

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Universal Pictures

Starring a cast of mostly unknowns, and reviving the raunchy teen comedy genre that had been dead and buried for more than a decade, no one knew what to expect of American Pie when it debuted back in the summer of 1999. But after earning $235 million dollars, spawning eight sequels, and creating one of the most famous pie-based sex scenes in movie history, it’s legendary status is secure. At the time, the film launched a slew of unknown actors into the stratosphere. Some have come back down to Earth hard, while others are just getting started. Much like band camp, let’s look back at the fun we had, and then see where the cast is now.

Jason Biggs (Jim Levenstein)

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Then: Like much of the cast, Jason Biggs was a fresh face when he landed the lead role in American Pie. His previous credits were scant, with a stint on the daytime soap As The World Turns and a Broadway turn opposite Judd Hirsch in Conversations with My Father being the highlights.

Lionsgate Television

Lionsgate Television

Now: While still largely known for his work in the American Pie series, Biggs has had success on the small screen of late. His turn as convict Piper Chapman’s estranged husband Larry on Orange is the New Black got some attention, and kids may recognize his voice as Leonardo on the animated series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But he’s sadly gotten the most attention for being a Twitter troll, making fun of everything from racial issues, to dead celebrities, to the Malaysian plane crash. It has not gone over well.


Chris Klein (Chris “Oz” Ostreicher)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Another unknown at the time, Chris Klein broke out big in 1999, staring in blockbuster American Pie and indie darling Election. It was actually the latter that he shot first, after director Alexander Payne discovered him in the halls of his high school while location scouting for the movie.

Comedy Central

Comedy Central

Now: Klein has had an admittedly tough go of it since the American Pie films ran their course. Beyond losing girlfriend Katie Holmes to Tom Cruise, he also battled alcohol issues and checked himself into rehab back in 2010. He’s since been working on a comeback, popping up on FX’s Wilfred and Comedy Central’s Idiotsitter.


Alyson Hannigan (Michelle Flaherty)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Hannigan, a former child actor, was making a name for herself as nerdy best friend Willow on Buffy The Vampire Slayer when American Pie came knocking. The filmmakers originally wanted her to play the part of Heather, which would go to Mena Suvari, but Hannigan thought band camp loving Michelle seemed like more fun.

20th Century Fox Television

20th Century Fox Television

Now: With seven seasons of Buffy, four American Pie movies, and nine seasons on How I Met Your Mother, Hannigan has had one of the best runs of any Pie alum. Now raising a family, she’s slowed down a bit, with her most recent part being a cameo on the CBS sitcom The McCarthys.


Shannon Elizabeth (Nadia)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Elizabeth began her career as a model, before booking small parts on TV shows like Arli$$ and USA High. She was perhaps best known for getting offed by a snowman in the direct-to-video horror cheesefest Jack Frost before her big break in American Pie came about.

ABC Family Original Productions

ABC Family Original Productions

Now: Elizabeth had a bit of a hot streak after American Pie, booking big parts in movies like Scary Movie, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Thir13en Ghosts. While she’s continued to work steadily, more recent projects like In The Dark and A Green Story haven’t gotten as much traction. But the good news is, with a bit more time on her hands, she began a second career as a professional poker player, and has kicked butt, landing in the money at the World Series of Poker.


Tara Reid (Vicky Lathum)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: A child actor best known for a litany of commercials, Reid had costarred in movies as diverse as Urban Legend and The Big Lebowski when she signed on to play Vicky in American Pie.

SyFy Films

SyFy Films

Now: Reid seemed to be on her way to becoming a big star when a wardrobe malfunction on the red carpet turned her into a walking punchline. In the years since, she’s worked to rebuild her career, starring in camp classics like the Sharknado films and The Hungover Games.


Eddie Kaye Thomas (Paul Finch)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: A child actor who’d appeared on Broadway opposite Natalie Portman in The Diary of Anne Frank, Kaye Thomas only had a few small parts to his name when he landed the role of cougar hunter Paul Finch in American Pie. 

Eddie Kaye Thomas Scorpion

CBS

Now: After the breakout hit of American Pie, Kaye started acting in a slew of movies, even landing the title role in Freddy Got Fingered. In more recent years, he’s probably best known for voicing Barry Robinson on the Seth MacFarlane animated series American Dad!, and popping up in shows like ‘Til Death and How to Make It in America. These days, he can be found starring on the CBS drama Scorpion.


Seann William Scott (Steve Stifler)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Stifler, the party bro who loves beer and babes in equal measure, was Scott’s big screen debut. Conceived more as a bit part than a costar at the time, Scott was paid only $8,000 for his time. Thankfully, the role would turn Scott into a breakout star.

FX Productions

FX Productions

Now: Scott went on to star in a succession of hits, including Final Destination, Dude, Where’s My Car? and The Rundown. But his new lifestyle would catch up with him, and he entered rehab in 2011 for “health and personal issues.” Since completing his treatment, he’s slowly made his way back into the fold, starring in the hockey comedy Goon and a classic episode of the FX hit It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.


Mena Suvari (Heather)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: 1999 was a big year for Suvari. After working sporadically for years as a child actor, she broke into the big time with the one/two punch of American Pie and American Beauty. This all-American year helped turn her into a star and sex symbol galore.

Blumhouse Television

Blumhouse Television

Now: While Suvari has worked steadily since her breakout year, popping up in everything from Six Feet Under to American Horror Story, she’s never again been the center of attention. In recent years she’s starred on the WE tv horror drama South of Hell, and focused on her charity work, with such organizations as Starlight Children’s Foundation and the “End Violence Against Women” campaign.


Thomas Ian Nicholas (Kevin Myers)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Thomas Ian Nicholas was arguably the biggest star amongst the teens cast in American Pie. You probably remember him as the titular kid(s) in A Kid in King Arthur’s Court and Rookie of the Year.

ABC Studios

ABC Studios

Now: Ian Nicholas has worked steadily over the last 20 years, playing Abbie Hoffman in The Chicago 8 and guest starring on hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Party of Five. Still, his real focus seems to be music. He released his first album, Without Warning, in 2008, and even got a song on the American Reunion soundtrack. He has since recorded with Blues Traveler and sung the national anthem at a Cubs game.


Natasha Lyonne (Jessica)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: The other legit star of the American Pie teens, Lyonne had already fronted Slums of Beverly Hills and had a role in Woody Allen’s Everybody Says I Love You. She was also popular for playing Opal on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.

IFC Originals

IFC Originals

Now: A serious drug addiction almost sidelined her career, but thankfully Natasha got clean, and returned to acting full-time. Since sobering up, she’s had an impressive resurgence, starring alongside Pie vet Jason Biggs on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, and recurring on IFC’s Portlandia.


John Cho (John)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Cho had just a few small, bit parts to his name when he was cast in American Pie. While this was another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role, the movie was such a massive hit, even the small parts led to stardom. In a Reddit AMA, Cho said “I was out of the country, shooting another movie, and had missed the release of American Pie, and was unaware it was a really big hit. So I came back to America, and kids were chanting ‘MILF! MILF!’ at me on the street. And I was really confused, and it took me a while to understand what was happening actually.”

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

Now: Cho has since become a big star, fronting the Harold and Kumar franchise, and playing Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek films. He’s also been named one of the sexiest men alive by People magazine not once, but twice, boldly going where no American Pie cast member had gone before.


Chris Owen (The Sherminator)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Owen had booked a few small parts in the years preceding American Pie. Most notably, he had a bit part opposite longtime friend and collaborator Charlie Talbert in the family film Angus. Still, it was “The Sherminator” that would come to define his career, for better or worse.

Universal

Universal

Now: While Owen hasn’t struggled for work, his association with the American Pie franchise has defined his career. He popped up in a number of similarly raunchy National Lampoon movies, including National Lampoon’s Gold Diggers and National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze 1 and 2.


Eugene Levy (Jim’s Dad)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Levy was already hugely popular in comedy circles, having starring on SCTV, and popped up in classic movies like Splash, Armed and Dangerous and Waiting for Guffman. But it was the part of Jim’s Dad that would prove to be a mainstream breakthrough for the comic with the caterpillar eyebrows.

Not a Real Company Productions

Not a Real Company Productions

Now: Levy has continued his hall-of-fame career over the last two decades, continuing to star in Christopher Guest directed classics like A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration. He’s also proved to be a loyal American Pie costar, appearing alongside Tara Reid in Josie and the Pussycats and Sean William Scott in Goon. And god love him, he’s appeared as Jim’s dad (aka Noah Levenstein) in every American Pie sequel, including four straight-to-video releases.


Jennifer Coolidge (Stifler’s Mom)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Coolidge was an alum of the legendary comedy school The Groundlings, but she had struggled to book a breakout part when American Pie came around. She was perhaps best known as the masseuse Jerry dated on an episode of Seinfeld, when she landed the part of Stifler’s randy mother.

Warner Brothers Television

Warner Brothers Television

Now: Playing the hottest mom in film since The Graduate launched Coolidge to another level. She went on to costar in everything from Legally Blonde to Sex in the City, and starred in a run of Christopher Guest’s improv mockumentaries, like Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration, alongside Pie vet Eugene Levy. Lately, she has been a regular on the long running CBS hit 2 Broke Girls.

IFC_FOD_TV_long_haired_businessmen_table

Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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via GIPHY

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.

SAE_102_tout_2

Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

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:

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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!

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

IFC_ComedyCrib_ThePlaceWeLive_SeriesImage_web

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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GIFs via Giphy

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.”

via GIPHY

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. 

via GIPHY

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.