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DID YOU READ

The sun never sets on James Bond.

The sun never sets on James Bond. (photo)

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James Bond, as conceived by Ian Fleming those many years ago, was kind of a jerk, an ultra-masculine fantasy for those who never got over the decline of the British Empire. Writing about Fleming back in 1996, Anthony Lane noted the many overlaps between Bond’s military background and Fleming’s own time in the service, and the many ways in which the hard-smoking, hard-drinking, unapologetic and coldly womanizing man merged with his creator. “So what does Bond love?” he wondered. “The same things as Fleming, I guess: England, or England as it was, or an idea of England” (Bond blamed the decline of the British Empire in part on tea); “men without women in a London club, savoring their claret and losing their unearned money with good grace at the gaming tables.” And so on.

It’s safe to say that we, and Bond, have come a long way since then: over the years, the cinematic Bond has loved and lost, knocked off smoking and become less gratuitously racist and condescending. Bond was always fighting the Cold War with the mentality of a World War II vet — something that became less clear with time, as his birthdate kept getting pushed forward and his original traits receded into the background. Now all that really remains is a jacked-up sense of ripped masculinity and a brand name too valuable to let die.

04092010_casino.jpgThat’s what’s interesting about the latest chatter about who could be the first black James Bond — an event that’s probably years in the offing, seeing as only Will Smith can play an action hero and bring in the masses. (African-American films, by and large, are still ghettoized at the box office.) The first curiosity about this poll is that it’s a reminder that Bond is still British, even if that really doesn’t carry much resonance anymore. (The unscientific poll’s number one choice? Grime rapper Dizzee Rascal. Try inviting an American audience to that movie.)

Still, the idea of a black 007 speaks to how far (thankfully) the character has come from his creator’s conception. As he stands now, Bond is nothing more than a way to mark changes in how society wants its heroes (or, now, anti-heroes) to be rather than a psychologically coherent character.

[Photos: “Dr. No,” MGM Home Entertainment, 1962; “Casino Royale,” Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2005.]

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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 IFC.com

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…