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  • Comedy is very personal. I think it's harder than drama- as to tastes- I think something is over sweet or too salty and it's some one else's favorite food. Often, I can't get a single laugh from some comics others think are funny. I can't say all the skits are even; some better. Is it ha ha funny, not always. But I found it entertaining and original. and I like a different voice. they break through sexual and social stereotypes by displaying them. Carrie as a man and Fred as a woman pull it off, not by their physical, but by the spirit and mimic of the essence.
  • Portlandia is a sketch comedy show that contains two main characters played by Fred Armisen of SNL fame and Carrie Brownstein of popular band Sleater Kinney. These two come up with rad skits in which they play Hippy Vegans, Cult members, Cos Play characters, and Yuppies just to name a few. Every episode contains famous actors, which add to the fun!!

    Port goes stageless! SNL, and Kids in The Hall take place on stages or sets. Port does not. This gives it a more authentic reality show feel which makes it more accessible and less artificial.

    This show makes me feel like I know these people or grew up with them. They make fun of things me and my friends make fun of. Everyday young adults, who understand punk, politics, indie rock, college life, and getting over all of that will relate.

    Portlandia is a 9 1/2 star show yet it's not over the top. It's not pretentious. This is why Port is for now. This generation. It's almost like a consistently funny SNL. An SNL that doesn't make fun of pop culture but rather everyday life. Therefore it's easy to laugh at again and again.

    Though it's great Port lacks just little in two areas rewatchability and characters. If they could just some more stable characters and focus a little bit more on consistent relationships (non sketch stuff) to give the audience something to look forward to than maybe next season it will be a 10.
  • "Portlandia" is a parody of/homage to the City of Roses, depicting scenarios that look like typical Portland occurrences. "Saturday Night Live" cast member Fred Armisen and singer Carrie Brownstein play various characters that truly represent the city, with occasional guest stars. This is not a sitcom in the common sense. It's filmed on location, and the humor is sort of like the kind in Christopher Guest's movies. "Portlandia" isn't a masterpiece of a show, but it's a very fun look at my hometown. I can affirm that it's a pretty accurate portrayal. And a very funny one. This show probably won't be for everyone, but if you like quirky stuff then you'll probably enjoy it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Sketch shows are generally not my thing since they tend to follow a tradition of being campy. Portlandia, on the other hand, is damn straight (and most importantly consistently) funny. I mean where else could I look to see a smart parody of a radical feminist lesbian played by a feminist lesbian? Or catch a glimpse of Kaia Wilson as a cafe customer during a sketch? I realize that these are partially (OK so the latter, completely) personal reasons to enjoy the show only more. However I think that anyone who enjoys absurd comedy with some social criticism would really appreciate the show.

    I don't believe that creativity and the will to work on it comes by easily, so call me old fashioned but when I see someone showing a good bit of it, I support it.
  • If you like sketch comedy but have not yet discovered this series, take my advice - see this show. 'Portlandia' is, for me at least, the best American sketch comedy series I've seen since 'Upright Citizens Brigade'.

    I don't know how accurately it depicts Portland and its denizens, but I do know that (A) it really makes me want to visit there and (B) it really, really makes me laugh.

    Carrie Brownstein is new to me as comedian, though I of course know her musical work with indie darlings Sleater-Kinney. The brilliantly versatile Fred Armisen has deservedly earned a big fan base (including my family) through his work on SNL. Yet, who could have predicted that this combination of talent, in such an off-the-wall concept, could work so well? It really does, and I want to congratulate all associated with the series, notably the legendary Lorne Michaels for once again nurturing talents like Fred and Carrie and giving them the chance to do a great show like this.

    Once you get the style and shape of the show, you'll be hooked. The sketches are, for the most part, really good and some (e.g. Chicken Farm, One More Episode of Galactica) are destined to become enduring classics.

    The stars (in their multiple roles) are ably assisted by a fine cast of supporting performers and a BIG highlight of the series is the many surprising and hilarious cameo appearances, including people like Edward James Olmos, Aimee Mann and Greg Louganis (playing themselves) and of course the wonderful Kyle McLachlan as the Mayor. These bits work not only because of who the stars are, but also because in just about every case they are perfect for and in the sketch (c.f. Eddie Vedder's great cameo in the "boyfriend's tattoo" sketch).

    Thanks Fred and Carrie and all the cast and crew - it's been a real delight to discover such a clever, quirky, inventive comedy series that consistently takes unexpected turns, gives a lot of laughs, and leaves you wanting more every time.
  • Portlandia is a wonderful mockery of a sort of the silliness of the modern age, poking fun at obsessions with food and authenticity and playing with concepts of gender.

    Portlandia walks that very thin line between so weird it's funny and too weird to be funny. That means you can see something truly inventive, original sketches, but also that you can watch an entire episode without a single funny thing in it. This has become increasingly true as the series has progressed - as of season 8 the humor has been somewhat patchy, although it is still sometimes brilliant.

    If you haven't seen this series, you should definitely check it out. Start with the early episodes to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This show completely cracks me up. The strange characters portrayed by these talented people are too funny. The subtle humor and lack of a laugh track is something that is lacking on television. The mayor is a total pretentious jerk that probably reminds a lot of us of our bosses. The bizarre humor in the show is completely original and unrelenting. I hate it when they have back-to-back episodes on Saturday mornings because I can't get out of bed - can't turn it off. The bookstore women, the cult, the dumpster divers, the gender-reversed couple, the Portland "Thinkers"....too funny. It's the best thing to hit television since "Fernwood 2 Nite", circa 1975. This just in...the second season sucked. I removed 4 stars.
  • I think the funniest sketch of all time is the pretentious thrift store one, and that alone gives this show a 10. Brownstein and Armisen are the best comic duo in recent memory - there unique brand of irreverent humor is so smart and can be so delightfully crass at the same time. Also the running format of the show is so brilliant. Want more of this!!
  • Erik_Stone12 May 2021
    Spot on. It's like a documentary, because it predicts the future, like the rest of us already knew, and why we escaped years ago. It's nice to be able to laugh at dead-baby jokes and the holocaust . . . Thankfully, welcome to Portlandia, which is even more funny, because it's more realistic.
  • Written by and starring Carrie Brownstein, of Sleater-Kinney fame, and Fred Armisen, of Saturday Night Live fame, a sketch comedy show set in Portland, Oregon.

    Funny, clever and original comedy. Captures well the absurdities of everyday life as well as parodying many organisations and types of people. Often irreverent in the institutions and people they take on.

    The humour spans subtle to over-the-top. Therein lies the one problem with the show - the subtler stuff can be too subtle and you miss the joke. Add in the fact that each episode concentrates on a different topic and this makes the individual episodes a bit hit- and-miss.

    Brownstein and Armisen are wonderful as the lead actors. While Armisen's comedic credentials are already well known and respected, Brownstein is a revelation. Her background, through Sleater-Kinney, is in socially-orientated rock music, and here she takes on sketch comedy, and does so extremely well.
  • The creators of this show made some accurate and pithy observations regarding the culture of Portland, Oregon, capturing our local native vibe that is sometimes quirky and sincere, sometimes obsessive, and sometimes down right passive-aggressive. As a 13-year resident of Portland, I appreciate this, as I appreciate location shots and the cameo appearance of our beleaguered Mayor Sam Adams.

    Nonetheless, a lot of the sketches on this show simply lack humor. There seems to be a lot of padding, a lot of sketches where there is no real joke, and a lot of unfunny characters who show up every episode, such as the couple played by our actors doing the cross-dressing thing.

    You can certainly use Portland as a springboard for humor, god knows I have been making fun of this city (which I love) for years...but at the end of the day, you also need some more actual jokes, and you need a bit of substance. Instead, you have one or two segments of this show being amusing, with the rest of it falling flat like Saturday Night Live after Tina Fey left.

    In short, the writers either have almost no actual material, or are just lazy.
  • This show is incredibly funny. It is very dry, and there is no laugh track, so if you aren't into that type of humor/show, this isn't the show for you. They are particularly good at making fun of hipster overly sensitive liberal culture, while also making fun of the other side of the isle. There is something in each episode for every type of person. Sometimes, the humor isn't obvious. It isn't quotable. Its not something you can go tell your friends or share on twitter. A lot of it relies in the actual plot itself, or the subtle delivery from the actors. Sometimes it makes fun of movies, TV shows, or other traditional forms of entertainment. It doesn't stick to making fun of one type of person, and it doesn't stick to one type of humor. If you have a broad sense of humor or can at least appreciate their varying forms of humor, you'll love this show. If you only think very specific types of humor are funny, you won't like this. This show is brilliant, creative, and doesn't care about if it hurts your feelings.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    THIS ONE MIGHT HAVE SPOILERS! "Portlandia" - It's not for everybody. That's the first sign you might find it good viewing. The second sign is it may take time to grow on you. It takes you out of your viewing comfort zone right away and a lot of people don't like that. My wife can't watch it. The first thing you'll notice is "Portlandia" is really the "Fred and Carrie show". These two mesh though, so they can pull it off. And they aren't concerned at all about looking ridiculous or even idiotic for a laugh. Sometimes the formula of straight absurdity just doesn't work - but it works enough of the time to keep me tuning back in.

    SPOILERS: Every episode Fred and Carrie play multiple characters. They have many recurring sets that sometimes even overlap - logic has no place in "Portlandia" - So be prepared for them to appear as old people, two female book store owners, two homeless people, there is no limit and so don't even bother keeping track of the names - trying to tell someone "about" this show who hasn't seen it, is next to impossible so i don't even try.

    The roles they will play and what will happen, are totally unpredictable and this is probably what a lot of people like (or hate). On the Fred-and-Carrie-show, characters appear from nowhere, disappear, and then reappear again at random. The characters always have a motive and the motive is always something ridiculous. Something always gets resolved during the show - a question, an issue, a problem, an invented crisis, a cause or belief that is very silly, again, always about matters completely absurd. So don't be surprised when Fred and Carrie reverse sexes (Carrie plays a guy named Lance and they slow her voice down, which i find hilarious) while Fred puts on a dress to play Nina (speeded up voice) and of course, these two are a couple. Their gender role changes are some of the funniest of the show but you gotta be ready for all the weirdness, because there's plenty of that in "Portlandia". If you don't do weird this show might not be for you.

    I give it 8 of 10, it took me 3 or 4 episodes of chipping at this show before i felt comfortable enough watching it. And not every episode is a gem either (because they can't all be) but all in all, good show and worth your time.
  • scottrowley16437 February 2012
    This is brilliant. It is so offbeat and quirky..very enjoyable. It may not be for everyone but you'll know right away if it's for you. The writing is so good. This isn't your ridiculous run-of-the-mill network comedy. You have met some of the characters before...self involved do-gooders, aged hippies, counter culture losers, the politically correct, protect the dogs but forget the people, people variously stuck in the 70s,80s and 90s all offbeat and most amusing. Portlandia will not appeal to people who enjoy: Jersey Shore, 2 1/2 Men, WWE. It may appeal to people who like: Walking Dead, Jericho, Breaking Bad. However, give it a will know..."the dream of the 90s is alive in Portland".
  • I never would have guessed that punk rocker Carrie Brownstein was this funny, and as for Fred Armisen, after 12 years on SNL, I naturally assumed those to be the peak of Armisen's sketch comedy genius, but then: Portlandia.

    The characters are memorable (i.e. Feminist bookstore ladies) and the sketches are spot on at capturing the essence of hipster culture, various more generalized societal woes and everyday struggles.

    Excerpt from Shocking Art Supplies sketch: "We've got baby doll parts; you can put them together any way you want" "Here's a radical juxtaposition; the butt is in the front" "What does that say about society"

    As an art student,I took to this one, however every episode is packed with hilarious critiques and comedic genius from the dynamic duo Armisen and Brownstein.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I didn't have the highest hopes for this show since SNL is not that funny anymore. But I gave it a shot. The first episode wasn't funny at all, which lead me to believe this show isn't a comedy. Is it? I mean, the beginning part with the singing was so long and not humorous. Then the characters were flat and in the bookstore, in took me awhile to realize Fred Armisen was playing a woman. See, if you watched a Kids in the Hall skit, you would instantly know a guy was playing a female. In this, I didn't. If there are jokes in this show, I must be missing them all. Wait, there are no jokes.

    It's a hodgepodge at best. Trying to be That 90's Show crossed with more topical sections, like when the two leads meet a bigamist cult that is like Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Overall, it doesn't make sense since that was in Texas and this is in Portland. I get the angle they were trying to create, but it is a lukewarm idea backed up with no spirit.

    I don't think the two leads, Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, who was more funny when she was in the band Sleater-Kinney than this, aren't very intriguing. There is something off with their delivery. I guess the side by side Portlandia and Black Books viewing would stand. You can do comedy straight but it has to be funny. This is not.

    I struggled through the second episode because I am a Kyle MacLachlan fan, so I fast forwarded to his sections. He actually breathed some life into the show for a brief second. Maybe it is because he knows how to act serious yet funny. He gets it. Then in bounded Aubrey Plaza from Parks and Recreation, a show I actually like and that I think is funny. But she always seems to play about the same character...still her scene in the bookstore was more inspired than Steve Buscemi's who played a guy who had to use the bathroom in the store and then ended up frustrated because he had to buy something. Having worked in a few indie bookstores myself, you would think this would bring up a chuckle or too. It didn't.

    There is no magic to Portlandia. I wanted to see some of the other cameos, but I can't even stomach it enough to fast forward to those cameos. I have no interest in any of the characters either of the leads play. It's like watching a whole episode of SNL that isn't funny at all (I am looking at you Russell Brand, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeff Bridges, Robert De Niro and Bryan Cranston hosted episodes...hard to make all that talent unfunny but somehow SNL currently does it...with only a few of the show like the Dana Carvey and Jim Carrey ones being actually funny) yet disappoints even more than "not funny" does. It's an odd accomplishment to make a show devoid of humor and isn't even interesting in style beyond that so I can get through a 20 minute show. Crazy.
  • One of those safe shows you hear everyone raving about. I gave this several chances, as I wondered what I was missing. All of the gags are DOA, I've never once even smirked at this safe pablum. I think the popularity of this God awful show is that everything safe, and all the humor, if you can call it that, is aimed at millennials. The jokes are based on observational humor specifically hipster culture in portland, which is just hipster culture. The problem is that all all the gags are nerfed, there isn't a single biting, or sharp observation in this show. Every single "jab" at these hipster conventions is gentle and designed for the hipsters to laugh at, because they are in on the joke. Also, all the targets are stereotypes so broad, this show needn't take place in Portland as all the jokes are totally generic, and run for far too long. This show feels like SNL - lame sketches that overstay their welcome. Jesus they did an ENTIRE episode about a bit where a lady didn't want to eat Tsukemen a certain way and the noodles came to life in a painfully tedious and unfunny episode length sketch that should have lasted 3 minutes at most. This show is just bizzzzaaaad.
  • Far too true in too many ways. Best enjoyed while drinking home-brewed Kombucha and eating chia seeds soaked in coconut milk...
  • This sketch comedy show has it all! It's witty, comical, intriguing, and addictive. Every single episode can stand alone or follow the preceding episode. Amazingly funny and worth binge watching multiple times over and over. I only wish more shows had this much thoughtful comedy.
  • mlbroberts20 February 2020
    That's about all I can say. I could not get into it. The godawful theme song should have warned me off, but I watched, and it just wasn't worth watching. I wouldn't call it a comedy - it's more like watching somebody else's group therapy where no one has a life.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I often find myself more interested in writing a highly critical review, mostly because I'm irritated by a film that cost a lot of money yet was awful, but this TV show deserves some commentary. Now don't get me wrong, this show has a lot of "misses." And it's not for those with a more traditional sense of humor, or who mostly enjoy crude, low-brow humor apparently meant for the teen crowd. However, I like absurd, bizarre humor, especially if it's got some social commentary, and at times Portlandia is very funny.

    For example, in one scene the main characters (a couple) talk about how people throw so many good things away, and then proceed to "dumpster dive." There's nothing of value to anyone in that particular dumpster, except perhaps a half full bottle of vinegar. Undeterred, they decide that most of the trash in that dumpster possesses value. The man finds a tiny shirt (which was his, shrunken by a dryer, I think), and decides to put it on, though of course it fits horribly and looks ridiculous. I guess I enjoy this sort of thing because it exaggerates what we all know some people do, though they may not do it in a dumpster.

    Sometimes, I don't really understand what they are trying do, if it's meant to be humorous, or if it's just incoherence for the sake of it, but I just go with it, and sometimes it does turn out to be funny, sometimes because after a while I find that I just have to laugh at it (such as a female musician who keeps dreaming of a pony, though it's not clear why). I also think that some right wing folk really think that there are a lot of Americans who are actually like this, mostly on the coasts, I guess. Was Obama really born in the USA? Well, if you don't think he was, you might actually believe that the Portlandians are real and represent millions, the left wing barbarian horde seeking to destroy baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet, presumably. A worthwhile absurdist comedy for an absurd period in US history, I guess.
  • cimirie23 January 2014
    I love dry, low key, intelligent humor. And this show advertises that this is what it delivers. Trouble is, this simply is a poorly thought out sketch comedy show that only pretends to deliver these things. It's not creative. It's not witty. It's simply a show that preys on stereotypes and relies on the counter-culture visibility of hippie and hipster culture to attempt to evoke a coolness factor that just falls flat in this show. And while Fred Armison is extremely talented, and I occasionally chuckled at his straight-faced deliver of some absurd line or facial emotion, it doesn't come close to making up for the boredom.

    The best way I can describe this show is to ask you to picture Saturday Night Live. On most SNL episodes, there are about 3 sketches that kill, 4 that bore you, and 2 that make you want to gouge your eyes out. Portlandia falls between categories 2 and 3.

    Now I will give the show props for being original. It's charting a course I haven't seen before. That alone is hard to do in today's cookie-cutter Ratings-driven Hollywood culture. And as far as cameos go, few shows beat it. There is a revolving door of A and B listers that show up which at times makes the show bearable.

    But do yourself a favor and just pass. Unless, of course, you are trying to repent for something.
  • Kyle MacLachlan goes all in on his portrayal of the simple but always charming, Mayor of Portland. Unfortunately even MacLachlan's powerful performance wasn't enough to carry the show with Armisen's dry, bland, and all around boring characters that just don't fit the bill.

    It seems like the skits aren't very well thought out and they're pulling humor from over-analyzing the hipster culture. To me, it seems like they're trying to make something out of nothing.

    If MacLachlan walks I'd give the show one more season before it's done. We see smaller shows trying to get their footing by injecting some star power (Devito in Sunny) all the time but maybe MacLachlan isn't even enough to keep this one afloat.
  • I watched these a few years ago- so I can't compare the 1st and following seasons. Fred and Carrie do a lot of gender bending- and have a unique voice- visiting common themes. they confront the ordinary joe, jill and the "hippy dippy"- taking a fresh look. as to be expected, some skits hit better than others. they take chances.
  • I'm not from Portland, but I live there now. Portland is a beautiful place to live. Breathtaking scenery, an excellent public transit system, awesome restaurants, great beer and coffee, close proximity to mountains and the ocean. There's a lot to like about living here. Sure, it rains a lot, there are a lot of homeless people, and hipsters are pretentious douchebags, but most people are hard working, friendly and inclusive. Some people get annoyed by the "small town" locals and some people get annoyed by the "yuppies for California." I think most people are good people in this city. IFC plays on many of the Portland sensibilities in their satire sketch comedy show "Portlandia".

    I enjoyed the show when it first started, but my enjoyment has dipped since then. Maybe it's because when it started it was still a place for young people to retire. Now, not so much. It's a booming economy, a lot of new money pouring in, and things are changing, I think mostly for the better, but that's not how everyone sees it. Rent has increased, so has traffic, and some of the charm has disappeared. I guess you can look at it both ways, positively and negatively. Also, jokes about hipsters, weirdness and more grow stale after being told over and over again.

    Overall, I enjoyed it when it first started, but maybe it's time to let it go. Like one of their famous sketches suggests, it's over.
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