It’s about life in hipster enclaves, and the self-consciousness that makes hipsters desperately disavow the label. entrepreneurship, in which people reject office jobs in favor of becoming, say, an appliqué-pillow designer with a page on Etsy.
Many of its characters are caught up in the prideful culture of D. (This season, a couple launch a business based on the catchphrase “We can pickle that!
smugly enamored couple sit in a restaurant, their hands clasped as they fret over the menu.
The characters in “Portlandia” are dressed with an eye toward recognition, not ridicule.
(The real Portland’s mayor, Sam Adams, who is openly gay, plays Mac Lachlan’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. ”) 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.” This childlike vibe has an edge to it, however; as an Armisen character explains at one point, Portland is “where young people go to retire.”Armisen, who is forty-five, is a seasoned comic actor who has been in the cast of “Saturday Night Live” since 2002, but Brownstein’s involvement in “Portlandia” is surprising.
She had never done comedy before collaborating with Armisen, and, in many ways, she is the epitome of the indie culture that the show sends up.
,” brining everything from eggs at an urban farm to a broken high heel found on the sidewalk.) “Portlandia” is an extended joke about what Freud called the narcissism of small differences: the need to distinguish oneself by minute shadings and to insist, with outsized militancy, on the importance of those shadings.
Brownstein, who is also one of the show’s writers and producers, told me, “In general, things in a place like Portland are really great, so little concerns become ridiculous.