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Great moments in schadenfreude: Charles Shyer.

Great moments in schadenfreude: Charles Shyer.  (photo)

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It’s been an exciting week for news of projects in development. P.T. Anderson returns! David Gordon Green shot another movie! Uh, “The Birds” remake is going to be a hard R!

And then there was word that Charles Shyer is all set to shoot “BFF,” a “female buddy comedy” about “childhood best friends who reunite years later in Manhattan and discover that one has become successful while the other remains stalled in their small hometown.”

Charles Shyer is the ex-husband of Nancy Meyers. As a professional team from 1980 onwards, they quickly crawled up the Hollywood ladder. First they just wrote some hits (“Private Benjamin,” “Baby Boom”) and then they got to direct them as well, trading off who was at the helm while churning out sitcoms for the screen. They gave the world a defanged Steve Martin as the “Father of the Bride” and a pre-trouble Lindsay Lohan in “The Parent Trap.” Sure, there were hiccups — like the 1994’s Julia Roberts flop “I Love Trouble” — but nothing to derail their career.

Then they divorced in 1999 and went their separate ways and everything went to hell for Shyer professionally. Meyers went on to a successful career in the estrogen-charged specialty: the enormously successful, rancid “What Women Want” gave her carte blanche to make the surprise hit “Something’s Gotta Give,” in which a woman Meyers’ age who is smart and attractive and accomplished finds a man who can appreciate her true qualities.

12032009_itscomplicated.jpgMeyers went on to make the equally non-autobiographical “The Holiday,” in which successful career woman Cameron Diaz stresses about how devoted she is to her job editing movie trailers but finds love anyway because she’s just that awesome. There is, similarly, nothing autobiographical about the upcoming “It’s Complicated,” which, per Wikipedia, is about a “self-reliant divorcee” who gets involved in love triangle between her ex-husband and another man, both of whom find her irresistible.

Good for Meyers. Meanwhile, Shyer did the following: directed the bad period drama “The Affair of the Necklace” (lifetime gross: $471, 210), the ego-stoking “Alfie” update (worldwide gross: $35 million, proving male post-divorce image-fluffing isn’t nearly as appealing as Meyers’ version), and a failed sitcom pilot (“Him and Us”), which took his usual style to its logical destination.

I’m not crazy about anything either Meyers or Shyer have done, separately or together, but Meyers has her advocates and all the fans. Insofar as there was any talent between the duo, it seems it was all on her side, at least for knowing what audiences/”women” want.

So she’s gone on to be her own 50something romantic heroine while Shyer’s now reduced to no-name vehicles about young women in Manhattan — in other words, abandoning his smoking-jacket aspirations (“Alfie” indeed) and now trying to do what his wife does so successfully. Down so far, so fast, etc.

[Photos: “Father of the Bride,” Touchstone Pictures, 1991; “It’s Complicated,” Universal Pictures, 2009]

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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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