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Must-Read: The History and Rise of the Supercut

Must-Read: The History and Rise of the Supercut (photo)

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Today’s essential piece of Internettery comes from Moving Image Source and writer Tom McCormack. It’s entitled “Compilation Nation: The History and the Rise of the Supercut.” And just what is a Supercut, besides a single unit in the popular and surprisingly affordable hair salon chain? It is the prevailing nomenclature for those compilation videos we all love to watch on our computers, this website and author included. You know the ones I’m talking about: stuff like 160 Greatest Arnold Schwarzenegger Quotes and “I’m Not Here To Make Friends.” With the sort of OCD comprehensiveness that characterizes the best examples of the genre, McCormack identifies the hallmarks and highlights, strengths and weaknesses of the recent supercut trend, and places them into larger context of experimental and avant-garde cinema. A brief excerpt:

As a vehicle for social critique, though, the supercut as such may have limited potential. Mostly the form translates a cliché into an experience of duration; the best supercuts are indeed durational affairs, offering a way of knowing that can only be achieved through time. But often the movies fail from obviousness. “He Didn’t Make It” (2010), “You Look Like Shit” (2010), “It’s Showtime” (2011) and others offer the bare pleasures of rhythm and symmetry but little else. Some cuts focus on repetitions we were meant to notice in the first place. One video collects every time Jeff Bridges says “dude” in The Big Lebowski, another collects the line “That’s what she said” from “The Office.” These videos testify to nerd cred and offer a chance for superfans to relive aspects of their beloved object, but probably have a small life outside of the initiated. The most engaging supercuts tend to stretch the form, moving beyond obvious tropes and into stranger territory.

Viral videos are, by their nature, disposable items. The maw of Internet eyeballs demands constant newness. But so many people watch these supercuts — that Schwarzenegger one has been viewed over six million times — that it’s important to consider why. So major props to McCormack for a fantastic piece of critical history. Go read it. Oh, and hey, look: another supercut is making the movie blog rounds today, this one about decades in the life of a single sound effect, “The Wilhelm Scream.” Seems like this web trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Which, in Internet time, means they’ll be out of fashion in like five and a half weeks.

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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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