Thursday, March 10, 2011

Trentavisionist: Portlandia

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are Portlandians

Do you remember the 90s? Sounds like the tag line for yet another round of VH1’s decade remembered series. Fred Armisen, of SNL fame, answers this question and proves that “the dream of the 90s is alive in Portland” through a slew of character driven sketches in his new IFC show, Portlandia.

Joined with friend Carrie Brownstein, of the all-woman indie rock band Sleater-Kinney, Armisen, himself an accomplished musician, sets out to dually pay homage and riff on the city that has meant so much to him.

“I love Portlandia. It really represents so much of what I love culturally, musically and in so many other ways,” said Fred Armisen in the IFC press release for the show. “This started as just a fun summer activity for Carrie and me. We’d be hanging out in Portland and shooting whatever made us laugh, and that evolved into Portlandia.”

Armisen representing the East Coast, and Brownstein hailing from the West, the team hope to have fun showing the cultural collisions that take place in Portland.
“The ideals and philosophy that are in the show, and in Portland, are present in a lot of other cities, whether it’s Austin or Williamsburg [Brooklyn] or Silver Lake [Los Angeles] or Boulder, Colorado,” said Brownstein in an interview with IFC’s Melissa Locker. “So a lot of the ideology in the show is present in a lot of states. If a state doesn't have a Portland, there are subsets of the population that are striving to be Portland. Pittsburgh is trying to get on the Portland thing. There may not be entire cities who get it, but there are certain populations that will find the material relatable.”
The early union of this comedic dynamic duo was manifest as Thunderant, “a compilation of online videos that combined their unique music styles and comedic sensibilities.” Thunderant was the developing ground for many of the characters that are now featured in Portlandia.

Expect to see multiple cameos in Portlandia. In the short six-part first season, the show boasts appearances from Aubrey Plaza, Kyle MacLachlan, Jason Sudeikis, Heather Graham and Selma Blair, just to name a handful on the long list.

If you missed the first round of the show, don’t worry. IFC has made entire episodes as well as the individuals shorts available online. Want more Portalandia? IFC renewed the show for a second season after the first three episodes aired.

IFC has definitely caught the dream of the 90s, especially if that means a television comedy set to dominate all others. We’ll see if Portlandia can stand up to the ultimate dream of any television program that was molded in the 90s, Seinfeld.

Portlandia airs Fridays at 10:30/9:30C on the Independent Film Channel (IFC).

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