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John Goodman sings.

John Goodman sings. (photo)

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Zealous “Roseanne”-loving friends recently pointed out to me that there’s actually an episode of the show in which John Goodman sings. They were right, and it was delightful. It made me wonder: Had Goodman — a fairly intense actor whose goofy charm belies serious skill — sung on other occasions? And the answer was… yes! From best to worst:

“People Like Us,” from “True Stories” (1986)

Goodman’s on-screen singing career peaked early, bringing down the house at the climax of David Byrne’s uneven-but-engaging sole foray in narrative feature film. As shy, roly-poly bachelor Louis Fyne, Goodman waits the whole movie to make his ultimate move in the quest for matrimony, then belts it out. The song, “People Like Us,” is a more ambivalent relative of “The Big Country,” a tribute to those living unseen between the coasts, “people like us, who will answer the telephone,” in Byrne’s part acute, part condescending formulation. Goodman’s rendition removes all condescension.

“Good Golly Miss Molly,” from “King Ralph” (1980)

This long-forgotten snobs-vs.-slobs vehicle was directed by David S. Ward, who wrote “The Sting.” John Goodman inherits the peerage, noble heart vs. antiquated moors, etc. I don’t really understand how it all leads to a duet with Little Richard, who appears as Goodman’s striding down a hallway. Someone asks him who he is. “I’m the king.” No, he’s assured, that’s the king. Cue “Good Golly Miss Molly” with a terrifying, satanically leering Richard, who ends the bit by flicking all the keys off the piano.

“If I Didn’t Have You,” from “Monsters, Inc.” (2001)

This end-credits song from “Monsters, Inc.” isn’t very good. It’s from Randy Newman’s late-period softy phase, and it’s impossible to remember that this same man once wrote, say, “Sail Away.” But it yielded a priceless moment of Goodman and Newman duetting at the Oscars as if they were equals on the musical spectrum.

“Roll Back The Rock (To The Dawn of Time),” from “We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story” (1993)

Released the same summer as “Jurassic Park” as a kindlier, friendlier dinosaur flick for the kiddies — Spielberg’s Amblin studios cover all their commercial bases, natch — this is the film where friendly dinos come to New York and enchant children or something. In a big welcoming parade, John Goodman (as a Rex named “Rex’) leads the festivities with a series of bad paleolithic/rock ‘n roll puns (“blow your cool just like a volcano”). But his T.Rex is surprisingly agile and loose on his feet — just like the real Goodman.

“The Bare Necessities,” from “The Jungle Book 2” (2003)

Essentially a desecration of the original version that’s sad and pointless. But again, a limber bear, just like real-life Goodman.

“Let There Be Snow,” from “Frosty Returns” (1992)

One of Goodman’s least enthusiastic performances, this number comes from an ill-conceived TV sequel. Cheap, shoddy and time capsule-ishly fixated on the destruction of the ozone layer, the enterprise did not prosper. In the inane Goodman-and-child duet below, they celebrate the charms of the season — “Let there be snow/let there be snow/this kind of weather brings people together/so friendships can grow” — over a faux-ska beat. Fortunately, Brian Doyle-Murray’s Mr. Twitchell breaks things up with a villainous rap interlude.

“Santa’s Family,” from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie” (1998)

By far the ghastliest object on this list, this song is from a thinly remembered animation cheapie that makes Rudolph save his reindeer love Zoey when she’s imprisoned by evil Ice Queen Stormella. Before all that, Santa Goodman sings about his family system: “Everybody’s a somebody in Santa’s family” is one of the least cringey bits. The musical arrangement sounds like Bob Dylan’s christmas album.

[Photo: “True Stories, Warner Bros., 1989]

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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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