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Abduction, confinement, torture, termination?
Christopher Goodwin at the London Times is the latest to weigh in with outrage on the proliferation and effects of the torture porn trend — while he brings no new insights to bear on the enduring popularity of ultraviolence, he does update developments, from the removal of the "Captivity" advertising campaign to speculations that imaginings of "Saw"-style tortures terrified the 15 British navy hostages held in Iran far more than anything that was actually done to them (i.e. taunts of resemblances to Mr. Bean). Lynden Barber at The Australian goes on:

But torture chic is not only turning up in cultic exploitation flicks, it’s increasingly being found in films with lofty ambitions. For wince-inducing interrogation featuring the removal of fingernails, look no further than Syriana, which won an Oscar for George Clooney, and Ken Loach‘s pro-Irish Republican The Wind that Shakes the Barley. This points to the other obvious influence. In the era of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, torture is part of our daily news diet, our collective unconscious.

An employee at AOL who’s also a former classmate of Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui turned in two of Cho’s short plays submitted for workshopping in a playwriting class. AOL News has tastefully posted them online (and here we are, even more tastefully reposting): "Richard McBeef" and "Mr. Brownstone."  They’re both furious, garbled, profanity-laden scenes that have readers in the comments posting angrily about how Cho, on the basis of his writing, should have instantly been reported or flagged as unstable, potentially dangerous, etc. But… really? We don’t mean to imply causality here — we absolutely do not believe that’s the case — but surely this is going to be the number one film at the box office on the weekend of June 8th. Cho’s dramatic stylings are disturbed, but in a world where we’ve normalized taking in 90 minutes of gore at the cineplex as casual weekend entertainment, how could anyone honestly claim that they’d see a cry for help in some miserable college senior’s imaginings of a woman menacing her husband with a chainsaw?

+ Sitting comfortably? (London Times)
+ Atrocity entertainment (The Australian)
+ Cho Seung-Hui’s Plays (AOL News)

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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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