Season 6, Episode 2: Going Grey

Munici-Pals

10 Best Pop Culture Mayors

Catch Kyle MacLachlan on an all-new Portlandia this Thursday, Feb. 4th at 10P.

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Fictional municipalities are rarely clockwork operations. There wouldn’t be much of a story if local governments were run with lockstep efficiency, and the source of the dysfunction and bureaucratic mismanagement usually falls to the very top: The Mayor. Even with the best of intentions and the noblest of corruption, the administrations of fictional mayors tend to be unconventional at best and disastrous at worst. But no matter what, they’re always pretty funny.

To celebrate Kyle MacLachlan‘s ever chipper mayor returning to Portlandia this Thursday at 10P on IFC, check out 10 pop culture mayors that gave us multiple terms of hilarity. (Click here to find IFC on TV in your area.)

1. Mayor of Portland, Portlandia 

Keep it weird

Laid back (not counting the exercise ball) and diligent (not counting the “real roots reggae” band), Portland’s fictional mayor is the absolute ideal in “dream of the ’90s” leadership. Hands-on, idealistic, and ably assisted by real-life Portland mayor Sam Adams, he is the only candidate to keep the largest city in Oregon weird in a way that’s totally different from Austin. (Check out behind-the-scenes Portlandia photos and anecdotes from Kyle McLachlan’s Instagram takeover.)


2. Mayor “Diamond” Joe Quimby, The Simpsons

If you ever wondered how far a suitcase full of money could get you in politics, look no further than the man in charge of Springfield, USA. There’s nobody who isn’t in the mayor’s pocket (and vice versa) and no good-lookin’ broad who doesn’t have his hotel key. But incumbency is always a lock thanks to the low-information voter, i.e. every single Springfieldian, and what can’t be excused can be defended with something as simple as “I didn’t do it.”


3. Mayor Goldie Wilson, Back to the Future

It’s rare to actually witness first-hand the humble beginnings of an elected official. Tales of blue-collar origins and “common man” rhetoric come cheap, so it’s always refreshing to see a young, starry-eyed go-getter rise from sweeping the floors to cleaning up the town. And to think, it all stemmed from a casual comment from your average, everyday time traveler.


4. The Mayor of Jefferton, Tom Goes to the Mayor

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim quickly established their acid-trip sensibilities with the Adult Swim series Tom Goes to the Mayor. Heidecker plays community-minded citizen Tom who attempts to corral Wareheim’s clinically insane mayor but typically winds up bruised and defeated in the process. Actual government work is entirely incidental.


5. Mayor Lenny, Ghostbusters movies

Trying to fill the big shoes left behind by Fiorello H. La Guardia — and occasionally chatting with his ghost — scrappy New York mayor and man of the people Lenny (his only identifier) is an open-minded leader who will listen to and healthily fund paranormal exterminators for the good of the island and its people. And any genitally-impaired suit from the EPA won’t stand in his way. (Click here to check future airings of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II on IFC.)


6. Mayor Adam West, Family Guy

Speaking of clinically insane mayors, mellifluous actor Adam West plays a crackpot alternate version of himself as the mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island. His administration is teeming with conspiracy (he’s convinced someone is stealing his plant’s water), paranoia (he’s cemented coffins shut as a sure-fire prevention against zombies), and flat-out insanity (he’s entered into matrimony with his own hand).


7. Mayor Clarence Royce, The Wire

The lying, cheating, backstabbing snake of a mayor Clarence Royce is the grinning embodiment of institutional failure, so it’s always a delight to see the system bite him in the ass. And much to the credit to actor Glynn Turman, his fall from backroom puppet master to ousted primary candidate is filled with schadenfreude hilarity — especially when he tries to cover it with that mile-wide smile.


8. Mayor of Townsville, Powerpuff Girls

Consistently demolished due to wanton superhero destruction, the city of Townsville is in desperate need of strong, determined leadership. Unfortunately, they’ve elected a dimwitted, diminutive worrywart mayor whose panicky bewilderment puts the entire community at risk. If it weren’t for the cogent and level-headed assistance of Ms. Sara Bellum, the city would be in peril even more often than it is.


9. Mayor Richard Wilkins III, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In a town filled with demons, goblins, and vampires, one can’t provide effective authority without some shape-shifting powers of his own. Such is the case with Sunnydale mayor Richard Wilkins III, a centuries-old sorcerer who is hell-bent (heh) on becoming an immortal purebred demon — all while maintaining the image of a conservative, family-values politician. Which is perhaps the most realistic version of a politician in this list.


10. Mayor McCheese, McDonaldland

Glorified figurehead Mayor McCheese governs McDonaldland practically by proxy. Citizens have long known — and visitors quickly come to find — that frantic clown Ronald McDonald is the sole public figure who brings the town together and makes it run smoothly (with the exception of the rampant hamburglary). Suffering through term after term of that loopy Ed Wynn-inspired voice, McDonaldland deserves a leader that isn’t half-morphed into a second-rate menu item.

Meet Austin’s mayor on this week’s brand-new Portlandia, Thursday at 10P on IFC.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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