DID YOU READ

It’s a reverse “Stand & Deliver” in the latest clip from Portlandia

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We all know the cinematic trope: A teacher comes to a school and inspires his students not just to academic success, but to greatness and fulfillment and a better life. That story arc has created some of the most memorable movie moments from the students in “Dead Poets Society” standing on their desks and declaring “O Captain, My Captain!” or Edward James Olmos delivering a stirring speech to his students in “Stand And Deliver.” In this new clip from Portlandia, however, we see that sometimes it’s not the teachers who inspire change, it’s the students. Especially when it comes to progressive, practical students who just can’t stomach watching their sad sack teacher flounder in the trenches and eating limp American cheese sandwiches alone at their desk. Aim higher! Study marketing!

Watch this clip and be inspired to make change in someone else’s life and be sure to tune in for the season finale of Portlandia on Friday at 10/9c:

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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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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.

A Portlandia Q & A: You asked, Fred Armisen answered

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Looking for a way to fill a few minutes before tonight’s brand new episode of Portlandia, which airs at 10/9c? Step right this way: A few days on Facebook and Twitter (@IFCportlandia) we asked Portlandia fans (a.k.a. everyone) to submit questions for the show’s star, writer and co-creator, Fred Armisen. You responded with a flood of questions and we picked the best, brightest and wackiest (Ikea Monkey?) and passed them along to Fred.
Here are his answers. Read ‘em and (don’t) weep:

1. If you could be a shrub, what kind of shrub would you be?
A Disney character.

2. How do you drink your coffee?

Black

3. What does Carrie smell like?

Records

4. What would be your spirit animal?

A human being

5. If you could put a bird on anything, what would you put it on?

The Washington Monument

6. Who is the greatest entertainer that has ever lived?

Paul McCartney

7. Name three songs you wish you’d written.

E=MC2 – Big Audio Dynamite
Numbers – Kraftwerk
Life Goes On – The Damned

8. I’m moving to Portland in two months. What’s the first thing I should do when I get there?

Go to baggage claim

9. On average, how many toothpicks would you say you use per year?

Twenty?

10. How psyched are you that you and I have the same birthday?

There’s a whole bunch of us! Did you know that? I just found out

11. What is your favorite kind of milk?

Almond

12. You have great hair. What kind of shampoo do you use? Would you do a shampoo infomercial?

Thank you! Kiehl’s. An infomercial? Only if it was shot on location in an Icelandic lagoon.

13. What are your thoughts on Ikea Monkey? Should he be held in captivity or returned to his owner so he can resume his fashionable lifestyle?

Owner? You don’t see that he was a secret shopper sent to check up on the employees? Look again closely at the photos.

14. What is the weirdest pickled thing you’ve ever eaten?

Some kind of red cabbage-y thing

15. What was it like working with Kevin the cat? Is he doing any solo work these days?

He’s a hard worker. A bit of a perfectionist. Really open to jamming, which is nice.

16. Favorite internet cat?

The one where the camera person is hiding from the cat, but as he shoots video and hides again, the cat gets closer and closer. It’s so funny.

17. Which Spice Girl is your favorite?

GINGER

18. Do you like chicken and waffles?

Sure.

19. What three things come to your mind when you hear “Feel It All Around”?

All of the art direction surrounding Washed Out. They have this aesthetic that looks like an extended family vacation out in some dreamy landscape. Or waterscape maybe. It’s so cool and they are amazing. I truly love that song.

20. A hamster and a dog are left inside a jug of water (empty). How does the hamster escape?

Why does he want to?

21. Did you wash your dishes today?

There was no need to.

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

Portlandia offers some parenting advice, tonight at 10/9c

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There’s no denying it: being a new parent is hard. That’s why so many new or simply frustrated parents turn to books for a bit of advice on how to get you through the rough patches (a.k.a. birth – age 18). While we can all agree that letting Candace and Toni watch your child is a risky choice, otherwise when it comes to parenting advice everything is completely contradictory. Every book is either telling you to let the kid cry it out or never ever let them cry. Are you going to be a helicopter parent or to let the kid rear himself? Are you a French-style parent determined to raise le bébé as if you lived in Paris or are you going to be a fearless Tiger Mom who never takes tears for an answer?

Not sure what parenting style best fits the needs of you and your family? Well, you’ll never know until you try them all and Portlandia is here to help. That’s right parents, help is here, so stick the kid in whatever vibrating bouncing swinging contraption will currently entertain the baby for three minutes and watch this clip from Friday’s new episode of Portlandia and be sure to tune in on Friday at 10/9c (yes, that’s after bedtime):

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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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