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Portlandia - Season One (Cover Artwork)

Portlandia

Portlandia: Season OneSeason One (2011)
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Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
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Like the place that inspires it, Portlandia is a weird show. From the minds of Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live), Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag) and Jonathan Krisel (Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!), Portlandia seeks to skewer life in Portland, Ore. The show's first season offe.


Like the place that inspires it, Portlandia is a weird show. From the minds of Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live), Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag) and Jonathan Krisel (Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!), Portlandia seeks to skewer life in Portland, Ore. The show's first season offers up six episodes that fluctuate wildly in quality and content. Sometimes it's charmingly oddball. Sometimes it's really dark and even sexually threatening. Sometimes it feels like a series of sketches that couldn't make it on SNL's final 10 minutes. Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes it's not.

There are plenty of positives. Unlike SNL, Portlandia's skits actually have endings. While the humor is pretty niche (r.e. hipsters ‚??n' hippies), there are still some comedic takes on things like dodgeball and movies that should appeal to people outside the show's self-imposed cult status. It also tweaks the political left without condoning the right. As a Whole Foods Market employee, I relate to some of these sketches a little too much. But the humor still generally comes from a place of endearment, even if it involves Brownstein having disturbingly rough, mustachioed sex. The crew packs in plenty of jokes per 30-minute episode, striking a decent balance between Tim and Eric's awkward humor and SNL's wacky characters.

At just six episodes, though, Portlandia's first season has a little too much filler. Much like the sketches on Armisen's other show, Portlandia sometimes rams a good premise into the ground. It might be more work in the editing room, but there's nothing wrong with a good 60-second bit. And sometimes the show aggressively commits to failing. One of Portlandia's stock jokes involves Armisen and Brownstein screaming the same phrase over and over at each other. It's tedious and needlessly manic.

But it when it works, Portlandia works quite well. The camera work and soundtrack are great. While the sketches aren't linked completely together a la Mr. Show, there is one plotline spread throughout each episode that gives the show some nice continuity. The guest stars actually get to contribute strong material. Between this and How I Met Your Mother, Kyle McLachlan has turned in some incredibly strong comedic performances lately. Not bad for the star of Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks. Other guests, like Aimee Mann, Aubrey Plaza and Jason Sudeikis deliver solid laughs as well, although I'm sure cool kids will be on the lookout for Colin Meloy and Corin Tucker. While thoroughly uneven, Portlandia still warrants a viewing and a second season. And in true Portland fashion, season one comes in biodegradable cardboard packaging.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Dante3000 (December 12, 2011)

You know it's Hamlet right? Like straight up.

Russe11 (December 11, 2011)

oops. i guess i just feel that strongly about how much that show sucks.

Russe11 (December 11, 2011)

God I hate SOA. How can anyone take that show seriously?

Russe11 (December 11, 2011)

God I hate SOA. How can anyone take that show seriously?

Russe11 (December 11, 2011)

God I hate Sons of Anarchy. How can anyone take that show seriously?

Russe11 (December 11, 2011)

God I hate Sons of Anarchy. How can anyone take that show seriously?

Russe11 (December 11, 2011)

God I hate Sons of Anarchy. How can anyone take that show seriously?

Russe11 (December 11, 2011)

God I hate Sons of Anarchy. How can anyone take that show seriously?

EchosMyron (December 10, 2011)

Sons of Anarchy is fucking terrible.

Scruffy (December 10, 2011)

"1. Breaking Bad, season 4
2. Parks and Recreation, season 3
3. Treme, season 2
4. Louie, season 2
5. Game of Thrones, season 1
6. Boardwalk Empire, season 2
7. Community, season 2/first half of season 3
8. Curb Your Enthusiasm, season 8
9. Archer, season 2
10. Justified, season 2"

You missed Sons Of Anarchy.

sweetpotaters (December 10, 2011)

Not a huge fan of the show but i still watched probably half the episodes. Sometimes i feel like the skits are honestly funny, like the feminist bookstore. Others were just dumb, like the one about the japanese girls in the cofee shop, but others were just so dumb and over the top that i just had to laugh, like the house sitter one. All in all its not the best show on tv but if nothings on and im practically sleeping at 3 am it its good for a fun, light hearted laugh.

i-type-poorly (December 9, 2011)

Season One would be a kind of neat title for a debut album.

That was the only reason I clicked on this review. Zero intrest in this show.

mattramone (December 9, 2011)

This show definitely has some bright spots (the opening musical number in the first episode, the feminist bookstore, the asshole bike messenger, the "PUT A BIRD ON IT!" artists that populate Etsy and Tom Gabel's bedroom, the dumpster divers, and the Adult Hide and Seek Team all spring immediately to mind), but it drags in too many places. As much as I roll my eyes at the trust fund dipshits who populate Portland, shotgunning this show was a little tedious.

dev (December 9, 2011)

I echo Colin's sentiment.

EchosMyron (December 9, 2011)

Nope, FNL is far too sappy for me. I cringed through most of the finale (which, incidentally, also won for best writing over the much more deserving Mad Men episode "The Suitcase"). I did like the final few shots of the episode, though, with the spotlights in the field gradually shutting off.

leecorsoisapenis (December 9, 2011)

Put a bird on it.

Echoes, I think Louie should be 2, but otherwise, I like that list a lot. I think you forgot the final season of FNL which maybe perhaps should share first place with Breaking Bad. I'm not sure if FNL counts though, because it might have aired last year on Dish and then on NBC. Not sure how the timetable for that worked. I downloaded each episode as they aired on dish, but don't remember when it was.

EchosMyron (December 9, 2011)

Best shows of 2011:

1. Breaking Bad, season 4
2. Parks and Recreation, season 3
3. Treme, season 2
4. Louie, season 2
5. Game of Thrones, season 1
6. Boardwalk Empire, season 2
7. Community, season 2/first half of season 3
8. Curb Your Enthusiasm, season 8
9. Archer, season 2
10. Justified, season 2

colin (December 9, 2011)

okay, what?

dlangl4 (December 9, 2011)

Kyle McLachlan deserves a great career in acting. I don't understand how great actors get overlooked so much.

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