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No one out-cougars Mrs. Robinson.

No one out-cougars Mrs. Robinson. (photo)

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People often forget that, adjusted for inflation, “The Graduate” is the 18th highest grossing film of all time in America, outranking any installment of “Lord of the Rings” or “Pirates of the Caribbean.” It’s not just Mike Nichols’ best movie by a long shot or a still-fresh contact high-inducing satire; it was maybe the artiest blockbuster of all time.

And it was, perhaps more than anything, best represented by a song: “Mrs. Robinson,” the Simon & Garfunkel elegy for Anne Bancroft’s innocence-robbing adultress. The track’s persisted long after “The Graduate” shrunk from cultural landmark status, long enough to make a meaningful punchline in “American Pie.”

So it was inevitable that the UK’s Iris Robertson scandal, duly dubbed “Irisgate,” in which it was revealed that the wife of Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson had an affair with and loaned sizable amounts of money to a 19-year-old boy, would inspire mischievous Belfast radio audiences to repeatedly call in and request “Mrs. Robinson.”

The big line itself — “Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson” — has been a headline constant, drawing the disapproval of the Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw, who notes “the contrast between this grim and tragic story and the quaint romance of ‘The Graduate’ couldn’t be plainer.”

01142010_thegraduate3.jpgThe details are different indeed, and the Iris Robinson story is plenty compelling on its own, a weird mix of sex, age gaps (59-19), power relations, business misconduct and political disgrace, culminating in a suicide attempt and a possible change in political power rankings. (You should read the links; summarizing it here would be a doorstop.)

How odd that “The Graduate” (and “Mrs. Robinson”) have become the “Madame Bovary” of 20th century adultery, enduring as the gold standard of pop cultural references to May-December entanglements — something you’d think would’ve been supplanted by now, but that hasn’t. Not even by, uh, “Ali: Fear Eats The Soul”? Or that one episode of “The Drew Carey Show” where “Drew Dates A Senior”? Or, er, “The Cougar”?

Okay, fair enough.

[Photos: “The Graduate,” Embassy Pictures Corporation, 1967]

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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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