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Feast your eyes on doom cakes

Feast your eyes on doom cakes (photo)

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I’m a sucker for a good movie trope (a nice, non-judgmental way of saying movie cliché), especially one I’ve never noticed before myself. That’s is why I’m in love with this site called Doom Cakes. And just what is a “doom cake?” I will let the site’s founder, Tom Blunt, explain (emphasis his):

“Cakes are rarely eaten and enjoyed in movies the way they are in real life. Instead they are nearly always demolished — perhaps in anticipation of the audience’s repressed desire to participate vicariously in wanton acts of decadence and destruction (probably hearkening back to the Death and the Maiden motif which originated in Renaissance art). There is a correlation between a cake’s extravagance and the likelihood that it will be destroyed.

Alternately: the cake remains intact, but serves as a harbinger of chaos and human suffering — the exact opposite of its intended effect. In such cases, the cake is presented at precisely the moment when the film’s characters are, for whatever reason, unable to rise to the occasion; suddenly the cake’s apparent splendor is unable to mask the essential futility, superficiality, frivolity, or artifice of such a gesture. (In other words, the cake is a lie.)”

Fascinating. And the Doom Cakes’ site has plenty of examples to back the theories up. Here’s a perfect one from the 1961 version of “The Parent Trap.”

The doom cake isn’t solely a thing of the past though. Consider this more recent example, from 2009’s “Drag Me to Hell”:

Cakes, then, are sort of like guns in movies: you can’t just have a character hold one. At a certain point, the audience is going to want to see that gun go off (or, in this case, that cake smash on someone’s face). Knowing viewers derive so much suspense simply from waiting for these cakes to deliver their inevitable splat of doom, that when it actually happens it’s just, well, the icing on the cake.

From now on, keep your eyes peeled for doom cakes: as soon as you see on in a film, you can be pretty sure something bad is about to happen to one or more of the characters. For many more examples, make sure you dive deeper into Now I need to get back to work on its sister site: Suspicious Cinnamon Buns.

Can you think of any examples of non-doom cakes in movies? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter and Facebook!

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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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