TV’s “Portlandia” Could Also Be Called “Cortlandia”

Over the holiday, I discovered “Portlandia” on Netflix (It’s available for Instant View). Two things about the show stood out for me:

  1. It’s wickedly hilarious.
  2. It could just as easily be set in Bernal Heights, if you don’t mind having a few laughs at our own expense.

But what is “Portlandia?” There’s a nice writeup about the show in the current issue of the New Yorker:

“Portlandia” presents a heightened version of [Portland's] twee urbanity: a company sells artisanal light bulbs, a hotel offers a manual typewriter to every guest, and a big local event is the Allergy Pride Parade. The mayor, played by Kyle MacLachlan, becomes an object of scandal when he’s “outed” as the bass guitarist in a middle-of-the-road reggae band. (The real Portland’s mayor, Sam Adams, who is openly gay, plays MacLachlan’s assistant on the show.) Armisen and Brownstein, wearing anthropologically precise wigs and outfits, portray most of the main characters: bicycle-rights activists, dumpster divers, campaigners against any theoretical attempt to bring the Olympics to Portland, animal lovers so out of touch that they free a pet dog tied up outside a restaurant. (“Who puts their dog on a pole like a stripper?”) Many characters recur, and, because they often seem to know one another, their intersections from sketch to sketch give the show the feel of a grownup “Sesame Street.”

“Corlandia” “Portlandia” is  excruciatingly funny, very spot-on, and highly recommended. Want a preview? Try this:

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14 Responses to TV’s “Portlandia” Could Also Be Called “Cortlandia”

  1. rallyp says:

    I LOVE that show!! And if you’ve seen the ‘put a bird on it’ episode, then you’ll see that perhaps we are closer to Cortlandia than we think.
    http://rallyp.tumblr.com/post/5800289006/put-a-bird-on-it-have-you-seen-the-show

  2. simoom says:

    How funny, I also found this during the holiday break from all things work related. I had the same thought about Cortlandia. :D So true & there’s nothing better than being able to laugh at oneself. I <3 Cortlandia and all my/our silly cortlandiaism's!!!

  3. kbzuercher says:

    I’m so weird about that gas pedal, how it just propels the car forward … YES! TiVo’ing now.

  4. Chris Doyle says:

    love the fixie using the bike lane ON the trolley

  5. bldxyz says:

    The clip you posted is my favorite scene and favorite episode. I keep wanting to re-tell that comedy but just cannot. It is an absolutely brilliant extended satire of the way we want to understand our food better.

    And, I love the show. There’s just not enough of it!

  6. Dang says:

    What a hilarious clip! A chicken named Colin. I had never heard of this show. Checking it out now.

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  9. Michael David Nolan says:

    I remember Cortland Avenue when it wasn’t so wealthy and white. There were downsides and upsides to the days when Bernal was racially and economically diverse.

  10. john says:

    I LOVE that show. Having grown up in Portland I can attest that every word of that program is true… It’s probably the best satire of this Gen-x and Gen-y going.

  11. davidkaye says:

    Having spent 6 years in Portland I can also attest to the twee truth of that town. But Portland has something that Cortland will never have: A big inferiority complex. Portland always wants to be almost as good as Seattle or SF, but knows it’ll never be. Thus, they tie every news story to Portland, no matter how tenuous the reason. For example, “Chicago murderer, Joe Jones, whose great aunt lived in southwest Portland during the 1970s…”

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