One to watch: Portlandia [TV]

Portland… It’s where young people go to retire!

When I found out that Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen were getting their own sketch show I was 3 stages beyond über-hyped on the excitoscale. And then I got that horrible sickly feeling when you realise that there’s a chance something like “Portlandia” might not live up to high expectations…

Saturday Night Live fans will know Fred Armisen as the show’s longest serving current cast member. Along with Kirsten Wiig, he’s one of the show’s most featured and consistently funny stars. He also spent 8 months married to Elisabeth Moss, or “Peggy from Mad Men” aka notashotasJanuaryJonesorChristinaHendricks. I’ve included this because it’s a bit random and even weirder than the fact he has played drums with Les Savy Fav or voiced a pervert in Grand Theft Auto IV.

Carrie Brownstein is practically an indie deity having served her time playing guitar with Sleater-Kinney until their dissolution in 2006. She frequently appears as a music critic on NPR’s All Songs Considered show and has recently formed a new group, Wild Flag, with some other ggggirls. Also of note is her short-lived spell at the helm of the enlightening NPR Monitor Mix blog.

And so to the third star of the show, the fine city of Portland, Oregon. I have no idea why, but I’ve always been a little intrigued by America’s 30th most populous city. Its fine reputation is due to excellence in the fields of promoting the arts, indie rock and eco-awareness. Popular Science considers it the most enviromentally friendly city in the US; that, I feel, is worthy of a woot.

Even with the combination of these three elements and the involvement of IFC’s comedy wing (also behind the excellent Todd Margaret and Onion News Network), I was still apprehensive. Why? Because it’s a 30 minute sketch show and I don’t think anyone has really enjoyed that format since the hey-day of The Fast Show and Big Train.

So thank God then that it wasn’t shite. Because in this day and age where online skits are king with and Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die site providing on-demand laughs, it’s pretty rare for every single segment on a 30 minute TV show to hit the spot and get a few laughs from an old grump like me.

Oh and episode one features Jason Sudeikis and the peerless Steve Buscemi. Just in case my impassioned please to watch didn’t sell it enough…

How to watch
Portlandia airs at 10.30pm on Friday nights on IFC. As this nice graphic says…

I have no idea if this is going to get picked up and shown in the UK or Ireland. It’s only a six part series to start with, so considering no one has picked up SNL over that side of the water after 36 years, it’s probably unlikely. But in this day and age where you can just find anything online (*cough* just download the dang thing right here *cough*), it matters not. And of course a quick “portlandia” search on youtube brings up losts of clips, both legal and ILL-legal.

“Dream of the 90s…”


PS, more blog posts coming soon – it’s an, eh, “spring” resolution!

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