Most shows don’t have a real sense of place. They either look like L.A. or Vancouver but that’s not the case with Portland-based Portlandia. In each episode Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein use brief sketches to show the best and worst stereotypes of the city.
Portlandia starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein airs on IFC Fridays at 10:00 pm ET.
What This Generation Needs is a Protest Song … Auto-tuned
It’s tough to write a good protest song when all you think about are eraser shots. That’s the problem Josh is having as he moves in with his suburban parents. He sees a neighbor girl who’s doing the same and they begin complaining about their fate. If only someone could write a great protest song like Bob Dylan did back in the day. But every time they imagine the song, it somehow turns into an auto-tuned dance number set in a club. Then it’s off to Teen Challenge Thrift Store, where aging hipster Spike decides to buy a TV after not having one for years. He turns on MTV and is convinced that it’s been hacked, since the channel has no music videos. All he sees are a bunch of hot women getting out of limos and some pregnant teenage moms.
I Want My MTV
Sure, everyone says they’d like MTV to be like it was in the 1980s. But what would that really look like? Spike and his longtime friend decide they’re going to take back MTV and return it’s glorious past. First they throw a “Take Back MTV Charity Ball,” then they track down original MTV personalities Kurt Loder, Tabitha Soren and Matt Pinfield. The group travels to Manhattan and storm the building. Spike and his friend meet Skylar Tiffany Thomas, the President of MTV. She looks to be about 12 and has a pink bear on her desk. Kurt, Tabitha and Matt take over the control room and put themselves back on the air. Back in Portland, a sleeping hipster wakes up, looks at the trio on MTV and turns off his TV.
Other Brands Work, But Ours Are Very Natural
The opening sketch in the second episode is about the new brand “Mother’s Son,” an all-natural deodorant that takes all the chemicals out of the deodorant while leaving in the natural stuff that doesn’t do anything. Kyle McLaughlin shows up playing the mayor of Portland and he convinces Fred and Carrie to travel to Seattle and try and convince people to move to Portland. The guest appearances continue with Jeff Goldblum making an appearance as a guy running “The Doily Shoppe,” which targets Portland residents looking to open up their own bed-and-breakfast. Yep, that tells you all you need to know about Portland.
Have You Considered Raising Your Kids Under The Gospel of Portland?
Fred and Carrie are in Seattle as part of their evangelizing trip for the City of Portland. They’re dressed in black suits and riding bikes and look more like Mormon missionaries than consultants. And predictably, they’re scaring people. Back in Portland two couples are talking television, but they can’t find a show they are current with. Every comment comes with a “spoiler” alert. They keep talking about older and older shows, from “The Wire” to “Boy Meets World.” Then Fred and Carrie are back in Portland and the Mayor has set up a huge welcoming presentation for the new residents of the city. The newcomers turn out to be two stray dogs and one Seattle woman who talks herself into staying with Fred and Carrie. Apparently there is a fine line between friendly and creepy.
“How about if we keep the name 15th Avenue, but in parenthesis write ‘N.E. 14th Avenue?’” – Town hall meeting attendee
“Is there a moving allowance? Because I have like a house and three kids now.” - Tabitha Soren
“Research is hard, so you can’t be mad at us.” – Head of Portland Milk Board