GOOD

An Interview with Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen

The stars of Portlandia on doing small things that matter

Portlandia’s Portland both is and is not the same as the city in Oregon: It’s at once smaller and larger, and some of its choicest gags can ricochet back to make the real-life city seem like a parody of itself. The IFC sketch comedy show is the brainchild of guitarist Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney and comedian Fred Armisen of Saturday Night Live. Since 2011, their Emmy-nominated show has poked goofy, well-honed fun at the self-righteous habits and precious quirks of its title town—and, by extension, of every city where people try to live a hip, conscious, yoga-and-almond-milk kind of life.

Was there a sharper critique at work? It certainly could feel that way. “The dream of the ‘90s is alive in Portland,” a chorus of zombie-like hipsters sang with an undead fervor in the series premiere, seeming to suggest that Portlandians of any city—especially the synth players, macchiato makers, and craft crackers of urban America—were lockstep anachronisms, full of outdated idealism.

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Street Artist Shepard Fairey Makes Hilarious Cameo on Portlandia

The “Obey” creator helps make fun of the subversive art form that he helped pioneer

www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkFTQHZZzag

“You wanna be radical? This is the radical store for you,” says Fred Armisen’s character, Phil, one of the co-owners of Shocking Art Supplies.

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Our Top 9 Most Portlandia Headlines of 2014

A round-up of the 2014 headlines we swear we didn’t write with the People’s Republic of Portlandia in mind.

Portlandia, which holds a funhouse mirror up to a certain set of (ahem) earnestly progressive urbanites, begins its fifth season on IFC starting January 8. From farm-to-table extremists to fixed gear cyclists and the dour owners of a proudly unprofitable feminist bookstore, we here at GOOD are well aware that when we laugh at these characters, we’re also laughing at ourselves. We’ve rounded up a few of last year's headlines from GOOD which, when taken on their own, might seem to have been written with the citizens of the People’s Republic of Portlandia in mind.

1. How I Tried to Turn Prison Into a Colorful Experience

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Feast Your Eyes: Meet Colin, Portlandia's Most Pampered Chicken

A clip from the first episode of IFC's new show, Portlandia, gently skewers the city's farm-to-table obsession.

For those too hip to own a TV or too busy with Adult Hide & Seek League on Friday night, here's a clip from the first episode of Portlandia, the new IFC show that pokes fun at the manifold artisanal, locavore, and alternative delights of Portland, Oregon. In this excerpt from the first episode, a couple quiz their waitress as to their chicken's diet (sheep's milk and locally grown hazelnuts), first name, and social life, before heading out to check with their own eyes that the farmer is "not one of those guys sitting on a yacht in Miami, cashing in on the organic trend."

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Portlandia: We Put Birds on Things

Portland, "a city where young people go to retire," is the star of a new series on IFC. Will any car-driving carnivores be watching?



When the media flier for the Portland premiere of IFC’s new sketch comedy show Portlandia promised red carpet arrivals with “celebrity guests,” I’ll admit that I felt a twinge of giddy curiosity at the thought of Tinseltown glitz descending momentarily upon our drizzly city. Real celebrities? In Portland? The idea boggled the mind. So when I arrived outside the charmingly dilapidated Hollywood Theater on Friday evening and found no red carpet in sight, I assumed I’d missed the glamorous festivities. It was only after I waded through the tide of thrilled indie-chic Portlanders and ventured to the media room that I realized my mistake. In this case, “red carpet” referred to the actual worn carpeting of the room where local media members huddled excitedly around Carrie Brownstein, one of the show’s two stars and the only celebrity present.

Of course, this experience was perfectly in keeping with the theme of the show itself: Portlandia lovingly satirizes the hyper-liberal, defiantly insular culture of the Rose City. As Brownstein and fellow star Fred Armisen (of Saturday Night Live fame) see things, Portland isn’t so much a city as it is an unusually large commune, packed with idealists whose zeal for sustainability is matched only by their unparalleled ability to slack off. (As Armisen puts it in the show’s first few minutes, “Portland is a city where young people go to retire.”) Portlandias citizens are broadminded and tolerant only until someone breaks one of the community’s innumerable unwritten rules, at which point they transform into avenging furies of liberal outrage. In one hilarious sketch, Armisen and Brownstein reach DEFCON 5 after seeing a dog tied up outside a restaurant, its owner missing; “Who puts their dog on a pole like a stripper?” shrieks Brownstein. So you’re damn right Portland doesn’t do red carpets: haven’t you heard how the production of red dye damages lemur habitats in Madagascar? You haven’t? What’s wrong with you?

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