So since it's fairly easy to miss, given that it is a show on IFC and well, who the hell even watches IFC? You should be made aware of Portlandia.
What is Portlandia? From IFC's website (they have a website?)
"Portlandia" could best be described as a sketch comedy show with very thin plots running through each episode. The sketches generally poke fun at the anything-goes/hippy/absurdly politically active stereotypes (and probably reality) of Portland, OR. Characters include the militant bike courier, the lesbian owners of an independent feminist bookstore, an adult hide and seek league, the mayor who plays bass in a reggae band, and many others. The common thread is that they're all so dedicated to their idiosyncratic pet causes that they're oblivious to how absurd they look to the rest of the world.
The 6-part IFC Original short-based comedy series PORTLANDIA, created, written by and starring Fred Armisen (SNL) and Carrie Brownstein (vocalist/guitarist, WILD FLAG, Sleater-Kinney), premieres on IFC Friday, January 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM ET/PT. Each episode's character-based shorts draw viewers into "Portlandia," the creators' dreamy and absurd rendering of Portland, Oregon.
Again, it's only a 6 part series on IFC, and tonight is the last night. Which is indeed easy to miss, I think is a shame that so many people have missed this since it is probably one of the better sketch comedy shows I've seen in some time.
Don't believe me? Here's the opening sketch of the series. Which is a pretty good introduction to the Portland mindset.
You'll get a sort of Flight of the Conchords vibe from the show. Which is pretty good because something needs to feel the void those New Zealander's left when they went away.
The show is pretty good most of the time. That's not to say that there's not duds in the mix. But guess what, that's going to happen with just about any sketch comedy show. I am just glad that there is a short sketch show out there that's actually about something with a backbone story arc laid in there throughout the episode and isn't just a vehicle for one edgy comedian.
Fun fact, the mayor's assistant in the episode where they visit the Mayor of Portland is the actual mayor of Portland.
As a person who visited Portland and would much like it to visit a couple more times at the very least, I found it very accurate. I mean, a lot of the stereotypes are just dead on. I recall the whole "Is it local" thing really being a big deal with other people when I went to get food and while dining in the city. I mean, that shit is really disturbingly accurate.
Most of all, while the show is mocking Portland's weird lifestyle, it does make you think, is this stuff really that bad? A place where the 00's never happened and everyone does what they want when they want and how they want... you know, it's starting to sound kind of appealing.
Maybe it's because I'm one of those who grew up consciously aware during the 90's and just about every thing that was said in that dream of the 90's song resonates with me.
It really doesn't sound bad at all. Hell, I wouldn't mind living there... Oh dear god, is this a sign that I want to go retire already? Maybe it's just that neo-hippies and eco0consciousness and things of that nature are easy to make fun of, but I can think of worse things than locally grown produce and flannel shirts to define a city by.
Just look at the south. The stereotypes there are generally of the hick variety. I'm sure that those stereotypes are worse than the ones about Portland. It's just that it's not bad, but just that they're funny to observe. Silly political ideals, environmental concerns and all that other stuff just seem comical.
Though I'm sure that if I ever did live there, it would be sort of like dating someone I wasn't really attracted to. It had a lot to offer, and it would be fun, but we were never meant for each other. Mostly due to the whole idea that after a while, I would get jaded and that smugness of feeling superior to everyone else for living my Portland ways would get the better of me.
I mean, the whole region is still cleaner, greener, and more tolerant of different lifestyles than anywhere else in the country, even if they had that whole era of outlawing black people from moving in... But still, white people are my kind of people. White strange people!
The best news? Portlandia Has Been Picked Up For a Second Season.
Pro: The new season will be 10 episodes.
Con: It won't air until next January.
I guess in the mean time between seasons we can watch some of the original sketches that the show is based on. So if you like sketch comedy or just enjoy laughing at hipsters and hippies, you really ought to check out this show.
Here's the official website. Go forth... dream of the 90's... cause it's alive in Portland.