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The women of summer.

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It's a little-known fact that one requires superpowers to pull off such fabulous hats.On the heels of the success of "Batman Begins,"  Tanya Gold in the Guardian devotes her DVD player to a weekend’s search for a blockbustery heroine equivalent. And she fails, fails, fails. To be fair, her selection was rather dismal: "Catwoman," "Elektra," "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" and "Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle" are not the stuff to which screenplay or directing awards are given. After watching this hellish marathon, she concludes:

Superwoman can’t have a super relationship or super contentment and the pay-off for her super gift is isolation, loneliness, misanthropy and, eventually, no doubt, super-arthritis.

It’s an amusing read, though we have to wonder if Gold has seen any of the male superhero movies she’s indirectly writing about ("Under their masks, I saw only sickness; under the corsets only high-quality breast augmentation. Batman has won," she closes), because their heroes are as equally moody, lonely, self-hating and taut-stomached. Honestly, no superhero can have a nice home life or a healthy relationship — it would doom the franchise! Directors have to be able to toss the latest starlet/beefcake in there to bring in the kids who want to ogle, and they can either die dramatically or fade from the series and our memory as the credits roll (and before you bring up the "Spider-Man" movies, we all know that by the third one he’s going to be back in romantic angst again, because otherwise, ugh!). The problem with these films is that no one’s figured out what a blockbuster heroine should be like (Hildy Johnson‘s public domain, darlings, pick up a copy and study, work in the martial arts later) — out of the four films mentioned in the article, two of the heroines are essentially grunty comic book men transposed into lingerie-clad hard bodies, broody blank slates on which to project one’s own hopes for any signs of personality; one is a drag queen attempting to channel Eartha Kitt; and the others are retarded puppies in slingbacks. We’ll let you figure out which is which yourselves.

In the Toronto Star,
Peter Howell
looks at the portrayals of women, superhero or not, in this summer’s blockbusters, and finds them lacking if not regressive. He suggests that this is a by-product of Hollywood’s single-minded coveting of the teenage boy demographic. As a quoted gender studies professor points out:

Nora Ephron directed "Bewitched," and she wrote it with her sister Delia, and they did it like a 25-year-old Hollywood male screenwriter who isn’t conscious of what he’s writing. They came up with the same kind of stereotypical roles and images that women are supposed to have in these kinds of Hollywood movies.

Howell also speculates interestingly (though unfoundedly) that it’s women’s lack of interest in this season’s offerings that’s causing the much-discusses box office droop.

+ I need a heroine (Guardian)
+ Women are going backwards (Toronto Star)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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