Portlandia • Netflix Review

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Review of Portlandia

A very hearty welcome to Portlandia, the brain child of Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein and Jonathan Krisel of Saturday Night Live Fame. Fred Armisen and Carrie earned themselves a big following in their sketch comedy duo ‘ThunderAnt’ and Jonathan Krisel (who directs) has written for Saturday Night Live and Funny or Die.

So far, so good and to be fair ‘good’ (said in a slightly high pitched voice) is where it starts, where it gets to as the seasons go on is brilliance.

Home to all things weird (and I do mean weird) the city that is “most definitely better than Seattle” wink-wink, Portlandia is a sharp, surreal comedy show, that follows the lives of characters including Toni & Candance who run ‘Women & Women First’ a not for profit feminist bookstores that never gets a lot of business because of their hostility towards anyone who dares to enter the bookstore. Lance and Nina are the stereotypical male and female couple, although Carrie plays Lance and animated rats (I told you it was weird) who live above a grocery store) voiced by Fred, Carrie and Jonathan. All sketch characters are played by Fred and Carrie.

The main characters Fred and Carrie played by Fred and Carrie….with me so far? Are musicians / artists who work closely with the town’s mayor, played superbly by Kyle MacLauchlan, a rather eccentric character who appears to be completely out of his depth as mayor of the city, he relies on Fred and Carrie as aides to rejuvenate interest in this seemingly forgotten city. The show takes a while to find its feet and so to gather momentum but stick with it, towards the end of season two I felt like I knew where I was and don’t worry if you’ve never been to Portand, neither have I, but with their never ending independent coffee shops, women for women only book shop, cyclists galore, a shop with ‘one top, one jumper’ men sporting a ‘nerd look’ or ‘tattoos and beards’ one can safely assume Portand might be akin to some kind of nirvana for an east London Shoreditchista (I just made that one up) keeping it real in Dalston and you can see why this show has won a Peabody.

The show whilst incredibly funny (I definitely LOL’d a lot) it is also incredibly earnest; these exaggerated characters at their hearts are being earnest in their own way which really does make for comical disaster, you can see why this show has won two Emmys and a Peabody.

Time to start getting weird.

Netflix has seasons one to three available.

By Chantelle Dusette