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When gay activists and conservative pundits agree.

When gay activists and conservative pundits agree. (photo)

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Buried deep in Patrick Range McDonald’s absorbing profile of agent Howard Bragman, there’s a sentence that took me off guard. Bragman specializes in helping gay celebrities craft coming-out strategies; he’s got “a famous musician who’s still closeted from the public” due next year, he’s become an expert in controversy-controlling media strategies and combating the homophobia of casting directors — many of whom are themselves are gay but don’t think viewers are ready for openly gay leads. And there’s the kicker: “Tinseltown has long been criticized as an isolated subculture that holds itself in excessively high regard, viewing everyday Americans as behind the times. There is every possibility that Hollywood is projecting its old biases about America, without learning how the public really feels.”

McDonald’s talking about the hypocrisy of a system where gay industry workers deny gay actors work for fear of other people’s homophobia. As he notes, a 2007 poll showed 72% of Americans would feel the same about an athlete if he came out, and that same 72% believed other people would be less tolerant. It’s the same conclusion drawn by various talking-points conservatives who chalked up the success of “Gran Torino” to a repudiation of Hollywood formulas in favor of an aggressive conservative mandate, or to prove the Polanski affair is the peak of Hollywood’s love of pedophiles: Hollywood doesn’t get it, and now is paying for it.

Conservatives think Hollywood is suffering because its been trampling all over the little people; industry observers (implicitly liberal) think — in McDonald’s formulation — it’s because they underestimate how progressive the public is. The truth is that right now Hollywood’s in a paranoid enough place that Universal can fire the chairmen responsible for its two most profitable years because of one bad summer. There’s complete panic, which is why everyone feels entitled to offer theories on how to reform/save the industry. It’s open season. Got an explanation? It’s probably no less plausible than anyone else’s.

[Photo: “Gran Torino,” Warner Bros, 2008]

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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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