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Portlandia’s Dream of the 90s Redux

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At the start of the first season of “Portlandia,” Fred and Carrie explained that one of the best things about Portland is that The Dream of the 90s is still alive there. You know, the 1990s where piercings and working in coffee shops and forming bands were actual things that people did. That dream is still alive in Portland a.k.a. the city where young people go to retire. However as Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein began production of the second season of the hit comedy, they realized that there was another way of looking at what the 90s were. It’s the Dream of the 1890s. Watch below:

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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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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.

Fred and Carrie Present: “Portlandia” Playlists

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We’re going to risk revealing our inner hippie by saying: “Hey man, is that Freedom Rock?” We’ll try to resurrect any remaining semblance of cool now by saying, nope, it’s a “Portlandia” playlist. In fact, it’s two playlists, one curated by Fred Armisen and one chosen by Carrie Brownstein. The song choices are an eclectic mix from two diehard music fans who are also renowned musicians (Wild Flag, anyone?) and recognize a great song when they hear it. Fred’s favorite songs include The Bangles, Prince, Dirty Projectors, and Kurt Vile. Carrie’s list features Television’s “Days,” old school Portland rockers The Wipers, Crystal Stilts “Shake the Shackles” and, of course, The Clash.

Head on over to Spotify to listen to Songs That Fred Loves! and then to Songs That Carrie Loves. Then when your friends ask, is that a “Portlandia” playlist, man? Yeah, well turn it up, man!

So now that you have Fred and Carrie’s favorite songs, we have to ask: Want to come to their DJ night?

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

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

“Portlandia”: The Return of Kyle MacLachlan

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This Friday at 10/9c, everyone’s favorite openly reggae mayor returns to “Portlandia.” That’s right, Kyle MacLachlan is back and he has a job for Fred Armisen’s and Carrie Brownstein’s alter egos, who helpfully also go by the names Fred and Carrie, but are very different from the real Fred and Carrie. You got that? Good. So on Friday’s brand new episode of “Portlandia,” the Mayor of Portland (Kyle MacLachlan) tasks Fred and Carrie to redesign the Portland Police Department’s uniforms and along with their clothes, their image. Sounds like a reasonable request, right?

We are very excited for Kyle to return to the show, but he isn’t the only special guest star this episode. Annie Clark a.k.a. singer songwriter St. Vincent will also be appearing. Fans of Fred and Carrie’s early sketch comedy work in Thunderant will recognize Annie from her performance in a feminist bookstore that looks strangely familiar. Watch this clip from Thunderant, but whatever you do, don’t point:

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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