DID YOU READ

Joanna Newsom comes to “Portlandia”

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Joanna Newsom plays like no one else. When her debut album The Milk-Eyed Mender came out in 2004, she introduced the world to her totally singular sound that combines the pedal harp, allusive lyrics, and a voice that inspires a thousand metaphors from wood sprite to child, but truly sounds like nothing else. Her distinctive folk-rock post-pop songs have won her fans worldwide and she has managed to create an unlikely indie rock career based on her skill playing the harp. So obviously she’s quite attached to her instrument.

In this week’s episode of “Portlandia,” she joins Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein for an idyllic retreat in a sun-spotted meadow for fun, frolicking, and an impromptu jam session. Being a genial group, when it comes time to head home, Joanna asks for a lift from Fred and Carrie who are more than happy to help out a friend. Watch what happens and then tune in on Friday at 10/9c for a new episode of “Portlandia”:

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Want the latest news from Portlandia? Like us on Facebook and follow us on @IFCportlandia and use the hashtag #Portlandia.

“Portlandia” airs on IFC on Fridays at 10/9c

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.

The Portlandia Interview: DJ Douggpound

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Doug Lussenhop, a.k.a. DJ Douggpound, is a rare bird in the comedy world: part joke D.J., part real musician, part video editor, writer, performer, and all kinds of amazing on Twitter. He’s the go-to editor for the surrealist comedians Tim & Eric, and has lent his chops to Jon Benjamin Has a Van, Funny or Die Presents, and, of course, Portlandia. We caught up with him to chat about skateboarding in Portland, sound effects, and being a little guy.

Portlandia: In Season 2 of Portlandia, your characteristic editing style seems more in the forefront. Did you have more freedom?

Doug Lussenhop: Well, we actually had a few more editors this season, so I did less overall editing, the other guys (Daniel, Bill and Mike) ripped off my style. I’m just kidding! I can’t take credit for the complete style of the editing, we all take little tricks from each other. Jonathan Krisel (the director) and I worked together for many years on Tim and Eric, as did the other editors, so we all know what’s up. I wouldn’t say we have more freedom, we’ve always had it. This show is really fun because no one’s looking over our shoulder, they give us the footage and we go nuts and try to sneak as many jokes in as we can.

Portlandia: How did you get involved with Portlandia and what’s your approach to it, as an editor?

Doug Lussenhop: Several years ago when Fred was on Tim and Eric, we were having lunch and he mentioned that he was shooting these internet videos with Carrie and he needed an editor. I said I’d do it and so I edited a bunch of them. They were called “Thunderant” which eventually turned into Portlandia. My approach is always just to make it funny. And sometimes to not make them too long.

Portlandia: Didn’t you meet Fred in the 90s?

Doug Lussenhop: Yeah, this is a funny story. I met Fred one day when I was doing an internship at a music video production company in Chicago. This lady who I worked for introduced me to him and he said “Hey little guy!” and he treated me like a 5 year old and never broke character. Everyone was laughing hysterically but I was pissed! I HATED him! I looked really young for my age, so it probably was pretty funny. Anyway, a few years later I saw his SXSW video and I realized that he’s just hilarious. Then I became a huge fan and I used to bring my camera to shows and film him doing characters between bands. I have some old footage of him dressed as a girl that works at a coffee shop. There’s a sketch from season two called “I’m a Little Guy,” I was born to edit that!

Doug as DJ Douggpound.

Portlandia: How does your work as an editor affect the kind of comedy that you do?

Doug Lussenhop: I never really think about it that much, I just do what I think is funny.

Portlandia: Do you approach comedy as an editor, or editing as a comedian?

Doug Lussenhop: Both. Either way, there needs to be sound effects.

Portlandia: How is working on Portlandia different than working with Tim and Eric, or doing your own stuff?

Doug Lussenhop: I guess Portlandia is more scripted but other than that, not much different. Both shows are hilarious and I love them.

Portlandia: What’s your next major project?

Doug Lussenhop: Well, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is out now on demand and in theaters on March 2nd and season 2 of “Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule” will be on adult swim in March.

Portlandia: Did you spend any time in Portland this summer? What are your favorite things to do in Portland?

Doug Lussenhop: I LOVE Portland, we got to do the editing for season one there. Any excuse to go there, I go. There’s some great comedy in Portland like the Bridgetown Comedy Fest and Comedy is OK. Andrew and Mikey who run that show are great dudes, there’s a lot of great dudes in Portland. And great skateparks, riding my bike around and going to skateparks, that’s the life for me. Can I move there?

Watch: Miranda July visits “Portlandia”

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Miranda July has made a career out of constantly evolving. She’s a performance artist who became a recording artist, releasing three albums in the 1990s. She is a public speaker, a published author, and more recently a movie star and director. Her first feature film “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” which opened in 2005, won The Caméra d’Or prize in The Cannes Festival 2005 as well as the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Her second feature, “The Future,” premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. With a resume this diverse, would it be much of a surprise if she moved back to Portland and opened a boutique clothing store called “Two Girls Two Shirts” with her friend Carrie Brownstein? Not really. Watch this clip from “Portlandia” and see what happens:

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Want the latest news from Portlandia? Like us on Facebook and follow us on @IFCportlandia and use the hashtag #Portlandia.

“Portlandia” airs on IFC on Fridays at 10/9c

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