May you and Portlandia be very happy together!

O! Lucky you!
By CHRIS BRAIOTTA  |  February 15, 2012



Thanks to Portlandia I now know way too much about you guys and your grody inner lives. It's not the show itself — it doesn't have that power. It's your horrifying enthusiasm for the show that has granted me this mirror.

I admit that Portlandia isn't terrible. I have come very close to gently chuckling at a tiny minority of the sketches. But it is so blaaaaaaand (according to my editor, Phoenix house style says no word can have more than seven vanity vowels) that there's no way it deserves the love shown it.

The sketches are mostly four-minute bites of liberal people being insistent about yoga topics, over and over. That's a worthy target, but Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein seem way too satisfied with their improv work, content to capture a tone of voice and then repeat themselves until they get shrieky. It all winds up being very fuguey even when it's funny. This is SNL with editing.

You know who likes seeing the same thing happen over and over? Toddlers. And people in Oliver Sacks books. And probably astronauts trapped in a time vortex.

You are none of these things, and yet something about Portlandia is tricking you. And I know what that is, and it has given me insights. Insights I do not want. And now I feel like someone showed me the faces you make when you're having regret sex.

I hate this wisdom.

1_Portlandia covers topics you guys are dick-deep in, but the rest of the world just doesn't get. Portlandia, though — it gets organic food dilemmas and band etiquette. O! the feelings when you see these things on TV! It doesn't even matter how often Portlandia just trots out references without spritzing joke magic on them. You're just so tickled to hear mention of college radio topics that spontaneous giggleboners erupt across your mind-laps. This is Shrek for people with Beat Happening records.

Insight: You are so gullible! Say Animal Collective next to Henry Rollins's 17-pound neck and you are in heaven! I bet you'd even be into webcomics if you understood tech-support jokes!

2_I know she was in that band that makes you want to dance to Judith Butler lectures, but Carrie Brownstein isn't very funny. She gives a decent showing for a newcomer, but anyone getting excited over her on this show is doing so out of idol worship, plain and simple. To Carrie's credit, she is about as good at doing male drag as anyone in the game, which is to say she's really bad at it. Sitting in a chair wrong while wearing a face merkin is hardly a Peter Sellers master class in character study. At least drag queens have to learn a song. Well, the words to a song. Well, the mouth shapes of the words to a song.

Insight: You have teenage hero worship, but some of you are in your laaaaaaate 30s!

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