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Portlandia is taking over San Francisco and the SF Sketchfest

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It’s not Valentine’s Day yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised if San Francisco sends a Whitman’s Sampler and a mash note to Portlandia. The city loves Fred Armisen’s and Carrie Brownstein’s sketch comedy show. The great love affair continues when Fred and Carrie on Wednesday, January 30th at 8pm at the Herbst Theatre, when the SF Sketchfest stages a Tribute to Portlandia.

The shows stars and creators Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein and director Jonathan Krisel will all be the there to bring a little Portlandia to the Bay City. The tribute features a conversation with Fred, Carrie and Jonathan along with a selection of hilarious clips, and an audience Q & A.

If you live in the Bay Area or are going to SF Sketchfest to sit in the audience at the Chris Gethard Show or stage a sit in at Reggie Watts’ Reggidency, be sure to snag tickets to SF Sketchfest’s Tribute to Portlandia. More info is available here.

Last time Fred and Carrie brought Portlandia to the Bay City during a stop on Portlandia the Tour, they invited local music hero Thao Nguyen up on stage for a rousing rendition of Salt n Pepa’s “Push It.” Don’t miss it if they repeat the performance at SF Sketchfest:

Want the latest news from Portlandia? Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter@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.

Eddie Vedder, Johnny Marr and more of our favorite musical guests on Portlandia

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This Friday at 10/9c, legendary Dinosaur Jr frontman J. Mascis, Quasi/Sleater-Kinney/Wild Flag drummer Janet Weiss and indie rock darlings Dirty Projectors all stop by Portlandia to take part in a soon-to-be legendary Battle of the Gentle Bands. (You can watch a clip here.) Portlandia has a three season long history of having incredible musicians swing by for guest starring roles, but that’s what you get when you have two indie rockers — and more important, huge music fans — at the helm. Here are some of the incredible musicians that have stopped by the Portlandia set with Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen so far:

The Smiths’ Johnny Marr

Corin Tucker/Colin Meloy/James Mercer at The Deuce

Annie Clark a.k.a. St. Vincent

Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock

Joanna Newsom

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Miranda July

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Eddie Vedder

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

Portlandia airs on IFC on Fridays at 10/9c

Watch the Battle of the Gentle Bands on Portlandia, airing tonight at 10/9c

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Shhhh! You’re not going to want to miss this sneak peek clip from Friday’s brand new episode of Portlandia. But you’re going to have to be extra quiet in order to fully appreciate Portlandia’s first (and maybe last) Battle of the Gentle Bands. In fact, go put on some slippers, sit on a cushion and mute your cell phone. Okay, now you can enjoy watching Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein very quietly rock out with the help of a certain Dinosaur Jr. frontman. That’s right, if you’ve ever wanted to see J. Mascis scolded for playing too loudly, now is your chance.

So stop eating chips, sit quietly and watch as the Battle of the Gentle Bands gets underway. Then be sure to tune in to a new episode of Portlandia on Friday at 10/9c when guest stars Roseanne Barr (Roseanne), George Wendt (Cheers) and the Dirty Projectors stop by Portlandia:

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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.

Portlandia airs on IFC on Fridays at 10/9c

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