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The great artificial insemination comedy trend?

The great artificial insemination comedy trend? (photo)

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There’s a mesmerizing parenthetical aside in John Horn’s preview of “The Back-Up Plan” in the Los Angeles Times, the romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez that opens tomorrow. “Outside of comic-book adaptations and ‘Wizard of Oz’ revivals, sperm donation is now Hollywood’s hottest trend,” Horn notes. “Freelance fertilization is central to the plots of Annette Bening and Julianne Moore’s ‘The Kids Are All Right’ and Jennifer Aniston’s ‘The Switch.'”

I love this conjecture more than I can say. Just picture those pitch meetings, with an enthusiastic screenwriter coming into the room, eyes gleaming with the promise of a sure thing. “Wait til you hear this, guys. I’ve got a sure thing. It’s about artificial insemination.” (The idea of “freelance” insemination is also quite delightful. Are there 1099 forms for that?)

Per the golden rule of the trend piece, it only takes three of anything to constitute a “trend.” So two Hollywood rom-coms and one Sundance movie definitely constitute a hot trend that just calls for experts to come explain how it reflects growing feminine discomfort with the dating process, or greatest tolerance of technology, or something like that.

And it’s instances like this where I can’t help but find the very idea of a trend piece ridiculous. I like to imagine inventing a time machine to send these zealous zeitgeist extrapolators back to an era when there really were trends to observe unfolding in real time, so they could puzzle over the gangster films of the ’30s, or write think-piece after think-piece about the effect of Watergate on ’70s cynicism and paranoia. At least that way, there’d be more than three movies at a time to work with — which, statistically, isn’t much of a meaningful trend.

[Photos: “The Back-Up Plan,” CBS Films, 2010; the original artificial insemination movie “Made In America,” Warner Bros., 1993]

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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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