Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time
Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.
Put A Bird On It
Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.
Colin the Chicken
Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.
Dream Of The ’90s
This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.
No You Go
We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.
We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.
One More Episode
The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.
Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.
Baroness For Life
Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…
IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?
Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.
Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.
Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.
IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?
Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.
IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?
Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.
Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.
IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?
Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.
Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!
IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?
Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family. We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets. And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.
Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.
Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.
Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates
Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….
IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?
BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…
KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.
IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.
KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.
IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?
KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!
BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.
IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?
BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.
KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?
IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?
BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.
KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.
Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.
See More Evil
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
The ’90s Are Back
We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”
Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.
We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.
Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).
In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?
From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.
Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.
And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.
DVDs are the new Vinyl
In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.
Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.
Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.
It’s Decor and Decorum
With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.
Forget Public Wifi
Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!
Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.
You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.
If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.
Stan Diego Comic-Con
Another Comic-Con International is in the can, and multiple nerdgasms were had by all – not least of which were about the Stan Against Evil roundtable discussion. Dana, Janet and John dropped a whole lotta information on what’s to come in Season 2 and what it’s like to get covered in buckets of demon goo. Here are the highlights.
Season 2 hits the air November 1 and picks up right where things left off. Consider this your chance to seamlessly continue your Halloween binge.
Most people know that Evie was written especially for Janet, but did you know that Stan is based on Dana Gould’s dad? It’s true. But that’s where the homage ends, because McGinley was taken off the leash to really build a unique character.
Improv is apparently everything, because according to Gould the funniest material happens on the fly. We bet the writers are totally cool with it.
If Stan fans are also into Twin Peaks and Doctor Who, that’s no accident. Both of those cult classic genre benders were front of mind when Stan was being developed.
Yep. A new trailer dropped. Feast your eyes.
Catch up on Stan Against Evil’s first season on the IFC app before it returns November 1st on IFC.
A Man Mansplains To Men
Mansplaining is when a man takes it upon himself to explain something to a woman that she already knows. It happens a lot, but it’s not going to happen here. Ladies, go ahead and skip to the end of this post to watch a free episode of IFC’s latest addition, Baroness von Sketch Show.
However, if you’re a man, you might actually benefit from a good mansplanation. So take a knee, lean in, and absorb the following wisdom.
Baroness von Sketch Show is made entirely by women, therefore this show isn’t focused on men. Can you believe it? I know what you’re thinking: how will we know when to laugh if the jokes aren’t viewed through the dusty lens of the patriarchy? Where are the thinly veiled penis jokes? Am I a bad person? In order: you will, nowhere, and yes.
Did you know that there’s more to life than poop jokes, sex jokes, body part jokes? I mean, those things are all really good things, natch, and totally edgy. But Baroness von Sketch Show does something even edgier. It holds up a brutal mirror to our everyday life. This is a bulls**t world we made, fellas.
After you watch the Canadian powerhouses of Baroness von Sketch Show and think to yourself “Dear god, this is so real” and “I’ve gotta talk about this,” do yourself a favor and think a-boot your options: Refrain from sharing your sage wisdom with any woman anywhere (believe us, she gets it). Instead, tell a fellow bro and get the mansplaining out of your system while also spreading the word about a great show.
Dudes, that’s the deal.
Women, start reading again here:
Check out the preview episode of Baroness von Sketch Show below.
And watch Wednesdays at 11P or On Demand.
Binge Don’t Cringe
A brain can only take so much.
Every five minutes, all day, every day, ludicrously stressful headlines push our mental limits as we struggle to adapt to a reality that seems increasingly less real. What’s a mind to do when simple denial just isn’t good enough anymore?
Radical suggestion: repeal and replace. And by that we mean take all the bad news that keeps you up at night, press pause, and substitute it with some genuine (not nervous, for a change) laughter. Here are some of the issues on our mind.
Feminist bookstore owners by day, still feminist bookstore owners by night, Toni and Candace show the male gaze who’s boss. Learn about their origin story (SPOILER: there’s an epic dance battle) and see what happens when their own brand of empowerment gets out of hand.
From Candace’s heart attack to the rise of the rawvolution, this Portlandia episode proves that healthcare is vital.
Too many online petitions, too little time? Get WOKE with Fred and Carrie when they learn how to protest.
What Could Have Been
Can’t say the name “Clinton” without bursting into tears? Documentary Now!’s masterfully political “The Bunker” sheds a cozy new light on the house that Bill and Hill built. Just pretend you don’t know how the story really ends.
A healthy way to break the high-drama news cycle is to switch over to “Dronez”, which has all the thrills of ubiquitous adventure journalism without any of the customary depression.
The more you watch, the better you feel. So get started on past episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia right now at IFC.com and the IFC app.
Comedy From The Closet
She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.
IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing. Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.
IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?
Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.
IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?
Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”
IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?
Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”
IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?
Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.
IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?
Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?
See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.