Portlandia: Season 1
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Portlandia is IFC's hit sketch comedy series created, written by, and starring Fred Armisen (SNL) and Carrie Brownstein (WILD FLAG, Sleater-Kinney vocalist/guitarist). The show is driven by a series of hilarious character-based shorts all of which take place in ""Portlandia"", the creators' dreamy and absurd rendering of Portland, Oregon where 90s culture reigns supreme and political correctness is all the rage.
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Before you leave a comment, I am AWARE that Portlandia is satyrical in nature and might I add, does a wonderful job of this. However, watching them rip on these stereotypes is a lot of fun, even if it is satire. The shows satyrical portrayal of stereotypes, however you want to perceive them, illustrates all the things I can't stand about this culture, and just because it's done under the guise of satire, doesn't make it any less funny or true for me.
This is some of the very finest sketch comedy I have ever seen, on par with "The Chappelle Show" and the best segments of "SNL". What makes it all the more impressive is that the show relies completely upon its stars, Fred and Carrie, who show a diversity that is nothing short of astounding. These two put it down with every ounce of their heart and soul, and their efforts are clear to see (and much appreciated).
I must point out, however, that I'm able to take what one might deem "extra pleasure" in this series, for I live near (and work within) the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which is essentially a "smaller Portland". Filled with hipsters, weirdos, and goateed maniacs riding fixed gear bikes, Portsmouth is a hilarious, smaller sibling to the its bigger brother, Portland. Therefore, when I watch "Portlandia", it's extra funny, because I actually "recognize" the characters who appear. "Hey, I know that guy/gal! They work at the Friendly Toast!"
Despite my partiality, I believe anybody with a functional sense of humor will be laughing, early and often, at the antics of this rare, beautiful, heartfelt sketch comedy. Do yourself a favor, and invest yourself in "Portlandia".
The ideas in this show are pretty amazing and original. There is an episode that is about the Uber drivers actually rating the customers. Fred has a 5 star rating and Carries rating was pretty low so she goes out of her way to improve her rating and a lot of crazy stuff ensues. An episode where they use VR goggles to attend a concert from the home, but hit someone with the drone who comes over to beat them up. The rest of the recurring cast works so great and they also work the same way where you might see them one episode as a waiter named Jason, but another they are a cell phone salesman named Bob. Kumail Nanjiani (about 12 episodes over 8 seasons) is one of my favorite. Steve Buscemi, Chloe Sevigny and several previous SNL cast members appear in the show as well.
Give this show 2 or 3 episodes before deciding you don't like it, the first one especially is a little hard to follow, perhaps not the best first episode as far as introducing a new show. Fred & Carrie are real musicians as well which is nice, there are a lot of scenes where they are really playing instruments or songs together. If you like comedies at all then give this show a shot, it is one of the funniest and original shows I have ever seen.