I love the idea of Portland, a hipster's paradise. That premise is the basis of IFC's six-part original short-based comedy series. Produced by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, Portlandia is a hilarious sketch show that strikes the right balance of absurdist humour and thoughtful satire.
The show stars and revolves around the antics of SNL veteran Fred Armisen and former Sleater-Kinney rocker and Portland native, Carrie Brownstein. The two form the basis of all the shows' sketches. There is usually one loose plotline or A-sketch that runs through each episode, intercut with other shorts that play on the leftist, elitist youth culture of the city.
There are a slew of notable guest stars including a hilarious turn from Aimee Mann working as a maid due to the decline of the music industry. The shows bashes Sarah McLachlan, who shows up as well. Steve Buscemi stumbles into a oddly strict, feminist bookstore to use the restroom. Aubrey Plaza and Kyle MacLachlan appear too for some silly comedic turns.
One of my favourite sketches revolves around a professional adult hide and seek league that is oddly grounded in reality while veering off wildly into offbeat humour. The whole thing is a larf with biting one-liners about getting real jobs, living in communes, and working part-time at a bookstore or co-op store. Premises based on having read everything, making sure any animal product consumed is treated 100% humanly, putting a bird on something and calling it art are flat out hilarious.
Of course, the musical number, "Dream of the '90s" that kicked off the show is pitch perfect. Lyrics like, "Where young people go to retire," and "All the hot girls where glasses... Yeah!" are delivered so candidly they drip with striking satire. Portlandia has been a critical hit as well as earning an early second season renewal from IFC. So evidently, the dream is indeed alive and well in Portland.
You can watch clips and full sketches from the show here.
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