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To Do in NYC: “The Wii Plays”

To Do in NYC: “The Wii Plays” (photo)

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I’ve written before about the unlikely bedfellows of theater and video games, and now a new production’s using the medium as a springboard for their ideas. “The Wii Plays” is a collection of mini-plays–each written by a different playwright–that all riff off the title of a game available on Nintendo’s hit console. Part of the fun of each little segment is waiting to see how the ethos of the namesake game makes its way in.

So, “Wii Tennis” starts with an awkward random meeting of ex-lovers at a coffee shop and escalates into a fervid volley of unresolved issues and recriminations, complete with toy rackets made for “Wii Sports” and tennis whites. Sega’s goofy, experimental bomb “Let’s Tap” somehow inspired a slice of quiet, suburban teen melodrama and the expletive-laden shenanigans of “Barbie as the Island Princess” infuse counterculture orneriness into Ken and Barbie. And game enthusiasts will giggle at two of the industry’s biggest mascots as a pair of egotistical rivals in “Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games.” “Why don’t you ever lose?!,” Sonic asks Mario. Why indeed? Spoken like a character whose glory days are long behind him.

02032011_the_Wii_Plays_3.jpg A few lines from the various works show some savvy as to some of the gripes people have had with the Wii, like “Doesn’t it bother you that it’s all easy?” in the “All Star Cheer Squad” vignette. Comments to the effect that the Wii’s for old people also get made. The interpersonal tensions wrap around some heavy themes, too: divorce, ennui and self-doubt all show up even in the midst of aliens and monsters talking trash about bowling. The assembled plays get interwoven with visuals and sound effects from each of the games, bookended by interstitial musical interludes from indie rock band Super Mirage. The performers embody their multiple roles with aplomb and altogether, 12 pieces make for an enjoyable and occasionally surprising night out. “The Wii Plays” is running at the Ars Nova theater in Manhattan until February 15th.

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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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