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Spending Memorial Day with “Kindergarten Cop.”

Spending Memorial Day with “Kindergarten Cop.” (photo)

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It was not my intention to spend Memorial Day rewatching “Kindergarten Cop,” but somehow it happened. And as it turns out, “Kindergarten Cop” has more to offer 2010 in the political realm than you’d expect. As TV Guide‘s perceptive review notes, “Schwarzenegger tames his kindergarten class by having them do calisthenics, thereby shamelessly using his role to promote his offscreen position as chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness — and therefore the political ambitions he constantly denies having.”

That was written in 1990, and — with Schwarzenneger as governor of California — it no longer scans as paranoia or needless cynicism. Indeed, “Kindergarten Cop” — for unexpected reasons — is more timely than ever now. It, like “Iron Man 2,” is the story of a self-reliant man saving America from itself through questionable means, which is only the first of its many strangely apropos resonances.

Arnold, playing a tough cop forced to go undercover as a kindergarten teacher, takes his unruly charges and whips them into shape — not just with those calisthenic workouts, but with a brand of collectivism that’s both vaguely fascist (just a trick of his accent) and reminiscent of “Metropolis,” as everyone reaches a happier future in harmony, led by a benevolent tyrant.

06012010_cop.jpgWhen Arnold yells “THERE IS NO BATHROOM,” it sounds like something out of Ayn Rand. And, as it happens, the majority of “Kindergarten Cop” is set in Astoria, Oregon, but Arnold flies there via (a massively disorienting, cut-in shot of) Air Alaska.

Given the meteoric rise of Sarah Palin, this makes absolute retroactive sense: a charismatic pragmatist comes out of small-town America to reform silly liberal children (up to and including the moment he’s basically cheered on for beating the crap out of a child-/wife-beater) and give their parents something to chew on. “Kindergarten Cop” doesn’t predict Schwarzenneger’s political rise: it predicts the Tea Party.

Happy past Memorial Day, America. There is no bathroom:

[Photos: “Kindergarten Cop,” Universal, 1990]

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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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