"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

Are you, will you, 'Portlandia'?

I've only watched the prior-to-premiere videos, but from what I've seen, urbanMamas resembles Portlandia very much. The new short IFC series -- six 30-minute episodes -- skewers everything we know, love, hate, and are in Portland: even our very own logos (yep, we've got a bird on it, several in fact!). Tonight's episode, up at 7:30, evidently will poke fun at the very Portland practice of knowing very very very much about where our food comes from.

Can I talk? I've got spaghetti sauce on the stove; the pork comes from Tails and Trotters, whose butchers-in-chief I've chatted with on many occasions. The mushrooms come from a buying club and they are definitely local. I canned the tomatoes, and they're heirloom, and from a nearby farm, and I grew the garlic. I'm wearing a thrifted apron and awesome brand-new pants from a free pile (brand-new to me, anyway). I just cut my boys' hair, not too short, in my living room. I'm treading on thin ice, though, by eating spaghetti from a package, avec gluten... it's whole wheat and organic though!

It's fun to make fun of ourselves sometimes, and I'll surely take the first opportunity to watch it (on Hulu?). The ironic thing (or one of them) is that it's really not very Portland to have cable, and even regular cable packages don't include IFC. And I have to admit, I wish a tiny bit that someone who is actually from Portland had written this. [Note, edited: Carrie, as I learned, has lived in Portland for several years, though the rest of the show's writers haven't.] Will Fred & Carrie miss all the truly Portland things to laugh at? Will the comedy hurt? Are they stealing "that's so Portland," the thing we always say to ourselves when we see two guys on tall bikes dressed in hipster-thrift store-Santa suits giving big cans of Pabst to homeless guys on Christmas afternoon, and turn it into "that's so Portlandia"? Will we, as one person who posted on the Facebook page suggests, be truly Portland by already being "over" the show after two episodes?


note: that first picture is amazingly, everything Portlandia pokes fun at. That's at the farmer's market on a Saturday last fall before Thanskgiving. That woman has an appliqued bird on her sweatshirt. No one is using an umbrella. And they all have their locally-roasted direct trade drip-on-demand artisan coffee in hand...


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From what I've seen -- the first episode on Hulu, plus a few other clips; I don't have cable either! -- the show is much more than poking fun at Portland stereotypes, local "characters" and indie pop-culture references. It uses those as a jumping-off point, but then each sketch goes into pretty dry and completely absurd humor. That's not for everyone, but it's my favorite kind of humor -- I loved "Kids In the Hall," for example. And it seems "Portlandia" is in a similar vein, but with the bonus of seeing locations and people I recognize. It's not really mean-spirited, because it gets so silly.

And I'm a liberal/aging hipster/buy-organic/NPR-listening/mama type, with bird art ... the target audience as well as the target of barbs. Who knows if it can sustain everyone's interest beyond six episodes, but I'll definitely watch more of it.

(Oh, and while I don't think Fred Armisen ever lived in Portland, Carrie lived here for several years, so she's not just basing her view of PDX on secondhand stereotypes!)

(Oh, and if you haven't already seen them, check out their earlier sketches as ThunderAnt -- there are more set in the feminist bookstore, plus a great one about doggie daycare.)

I don't have cable either. No one I know has cable other than my mom. But what I've seen of Portlandia so far, online, is very hilarious.

Hilarious. I will be super sad after the 6th episode.

Did you hear the NPR interview with Carrie this morning?


She mentioned that the things that she and Fred make fun of about Portland are the very things she loves about it, saying that she's tried to live elsewhere, but can't. (She still has a house in NE, I think.) I know what she means: I make fun of Portland, but still having a slightly defensive, "love it or leave it" attitude. I've only watched the shorts, but am eager to watch the first episode. I've heard it's uneven (understandably).

Hubby and I loved the Show. I'm a sucker for big dance numbers, so my fingers are crossed for more musical skits. Also like the relationship between Fred and Carrie- hope we get to see that develop. Found myself eager to see a spoofed version of myself- ahh the desire for attention. Anyway, take that as a sign that the mocking is loving. (hmm, so what would my character be... over-eager outdoor enthusiast, toy-hating mom, mom incapable of talking in complete sentences?)
Anyway, think the attention is good for PDX. with the success of the wieden and Kennedy ads, I hope all this will lead towards PDX becoming more of a media meccah. We've got a lot of creative types - increased cash flow from outside would be good.

Carrie Brownstein LIVES in Portland...and has for a LONG time. So it IS written by someone who actually lives in PDX.

Ever hear of a little all-women uber famous NW band by the name of Sleater Kinney? :-) http://www.sleater-kinney.com/photos/42.html That's Carrie on the right there.

We thought it was pretty funny. And it made me miss Portland like crazy... I especially liked the exchange between Fred and the old lady at the library. Hilarious.

Watched it and LOVED it! MY husband I have both lived in the Portland/W.Valley area for most of our lives and we thought it was HILARIOUS!! I agree with Kathleen above about being able to recognize and poke fun at the ridiculous things about your city and loving those same neurotic elements at the same time. Eccentricities are what mold a culture into something unique and interesting. Can't wait to see more ...

Eh. What I'm really psyched about is next week's conclusion to Downton Abbey on PBS. You can watch all four episodes of it online:


Aaah, zinemama, very funny - whether intentional or not. Perfect fodder for another episode of Portlandia.

I thought the trailers and big musical number were pretty funny but the actual 1st episode left me cold. Edie b. is exactly right about the dry and completely absurd humor. I guess over-the-top is just not my thing but I will have to try at least 1 more episode.

I thought it was -eh- ok. Maybe it was less funny to me because it sort of seemed real, just a teensy bit exaggerated. Still, I'm going to watch the coming episodes. I am particularly interested in the cycling episode.

sorry guys: something I read had me assuming they all were non-Portlanders. now I've learned that Carrie, indeed, has lived in Portland. I've never been good with musicians' names (I think that might make me a bad Portlandian ;).

so I finally watched it last night (luckily, it's on On Demand). and though I did see some great funny Portland stuff, I don't really go crazy about this kind of comedy. take a funny situation/setting, go somewhere totally bizarre and uncomfortable with it. the scenes on the farm with all the wives was especially itchy. I just didn't think it was funny. same with the woman-woman store bit. however, I love the song!

if *I* was writing I'd do it way differently, with fewer characters who were more real, less exaggeration.

I thought it was hilarious although a bit uneven. I've giggled at the "Dream of 90s" video a hundred times. The restaurant scene reminded me of the first time I saw a chicken running across the street in my neighborhood right after I moved here. It was completely surreal ("what the f*ck is a chicken doing in the middle of a city street???") My neighbor who has four chickens came over to borrow an egg last weekend. I don't interpret the show as a knock to Portland, more as a humorous nod to what makes it a great but sometimes a weird place to live. My husband and I are Chicago transplants and I doubt we'll ever leave.

Oh, and I had a deluge of texts from all of my indie rock Chicago friends (I used to work in the concert industry there) and they all watched it because of Carrie. By reading their comments, I realized it's not just about Portland per say. It's a comical poke at the indie rock/alternative lifestyles that most of us live in one way or another. Of course they all want to move here now! :) I loved the line in the video when he says something about us having actual CDs and going to record stores.

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