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Watch Fred Armisen play Penny Marshall

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As we count down to the Emmy Awards, which are happening September 23rd, we are looking back at some of our favorite moments from the Emmy nominated second season of Portlandia. There was the Dream of the 1890s, the Battlestar Galactica episode, Kristen Wiig as the best catnapper around, the Brunch Special with Tim Robbins, and, of course, Andy Samberg as the world’s best mixologist. And hey remember that time when Penny Marshall stopped by everyone’s favorite feminist bookstore in Portlandia? Here’s the clip, as a reminder:

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Good times were had and classic comedy was made. Now, Fred Armisen has re-payed the favor by helping Ms. Marshall promote her brand new memoir, My Mother Was Nuts. How exactly does Fred help out? By reviving his stellar and infamous Penny Marshall impression in the trailer for her new book, which hits shelves September 18th.

Watch and learn:

Portlandia comes back in January, but not if you have Dish Network. Call 855-2-DROP-DISH to find a new cable provider.

Want the latest news from Portlandia? Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter@ifcPortlandia and use the hashtag #portlandia.

Portlandia returns to IFC in January

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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.

Chloe Sevigny is moving to Portlandia

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The third season of Portlandia is in production right now and the first news is coming out of the set and, boy, is it exciting: Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actress Chloë Sevigny (Big Love, American Horror Story) is packing her bags and moving to Portlandia!

Sevigny is moving in with Fred Armisen’s and Carrie Brownstein’s aptly named characters Fred and Carrie. Sevigny will appear in multiple episodes throughout the third season as Fred and Carrie’s new roommate, Alexandra. Hope she knows how to separate the recycling properly!

In other casting news, we are thrilled that Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Desperate Housewives) will be returning as the Portlandia’s beloved openly reggae mayor. Stay tuned for more new residents visiting Portlandia during season three. As you know, guest stars last season included Andy Samberg (SNL, Lonely Planet), Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Independence Day), Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption), Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse) and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids, SNL).

Now let’s all watch this clip and imagine Chloe Sevigny waking up next to Fred and Carrie, she should be used to it after all that time on Big Love, right?

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Want the latest news from Portlandia? Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter@ifcPortlandia and use the hashtag #portlandia.

The third season of Portlandia comes to IFC in January

Portlandia’s Fred Armisen interviews J. Mascis

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We love Dinosaur Jr. and it’s iconic frontman J. Mascis (feel free to go watch his performance at our house at SXSW 2011 when you are done here). We also love Portlandia. (Duh.) So we were thrilled to find out that Candace (aka Fred Armisen), of Portland’s fine feminist bookstore, Women & Women First, got a chance to interview the notoriously reticent singer about his band’s forthcoming album, “I Bet On Sky,” which comes out September 18th. As you can tell by their dynamic rapport in the rather illuminating and not at all awkward interview, these two are old friends. They met when J. Mascis showed up during Portlandia The Tour last year. That explains their chemistry. Now hopefully Toni (Carrie Brownstein) won’t get too jealous when she sees this.

Want the latest news from Portlandia? Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter@ifcPortlandia and use the hashtag #portlandia.

The third season of Portlandia comes to IFC in January 2013

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