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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Portlandia: Mildly Funny, But Where's the Beer?

If you live in Portland, you are no doubt aware that a new TV show is about to debut featuring our fair city: "Portlandia." (If you're like me, you became aware of the channel broadcasting the show, IFC, only after becoming aware of the show itself.) If you live elsewhere, probably you don't know about it or care. But around here, it's been getting a lot of buzz--due mainly to this viral video:

The entire show is actually streamable via Hulu, and I watched it recently. Sketch comedy, from SNL's Fred Armisen, with help from co-creative Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney. I'm not a fan of sketch comedy, and I'd say this is mostly miss with a few nice chuckles along the way.

The idea is to poke fun at Portland's unique culture--and they do a fairly good job of identifying and capturing it. Portland's the butt of the jokes, but in the manner of Portlanders kidding themselves. The biggest oversight, however, is the lack of beer references. Inexcusable! So, as a public service, here's a mini-script the writers can steal and expand upon.

Portlandia: Beer

Scene: Set in an industrial pub with lots of concrete and steel. A picture of a haloed Fred Eckhardt hangs above the bar. Three people are sitting at the bar, Armisen, Brownstein, and oh, I don't know, Sam Calagione. A bartender stands ready with a tulip glass behind the bar.

Mike (Armisen): Have you tried the new Ninkasi Quad IPA?
Kylie (Brownstein): Quad?
Mike: Yeah, it's 19% alcohol and 432 IBUs
Kylie: I'm over the IPAs. It's all sour for me. [To bartender] I'll have that new one from Cascade, the dragonfruit-artichoke strong blond.
Bartender to Joe: What are you having?
Joe (Calagione): Fat Tire.
Mike and Kylie begin to laugh.
Joe: What's so funny.
Mike: nothing. (snorts)
Kylie breaks into peals of laughter.
Bartender, to Joe: Beer geeks, just ignore them.
Andrew (James Mercer) enters. Goes to the bar, orders a Pabst tall.
Mike and Kylie nod approvingly.


  1. Hahahaahahaha!

    It's all so true...and so funny.

    "Alternative Universe" where time has stood still.

    What does that really say? Is it like going to a Renaissance Festival where people pretend to live in a different period or a place that just doesn't know how to evolve with the times?

    It's all a very tongue and cheek poke. Is Portland is a Disneyland for freaks and throwbacks that don't want to roll with the times? Funny as hell!

  2. The Beer is stuck in the 90's too!

  3. Awesome! You captured the portland Beer scene perfectly!

  4. Wait a minute, Mr. Portland International Film Festival guy... You'd never heard of the International Film Channel?

    Me, never having heard of it, I understand (since I can't stand international film), but you're supposed to be so much more cultured than I!

    At some level, I think that the show actually exists to make Portlanders aware of IFC. Otherwise, I don't really get the strategy of making six episodes of a show - with each 22-minute episode containing about 4 minutes of funny stuff.

  5. I'm so cultured, Kari, that I don't even track what's on TV. (You must image scorn emanating from within the black folds of my clothes, scented with cloves.) Actually, I haven't had cable in 20 years and now don't even have TV (we didn't get an antenna when the world went digital.) I get my film like any good luddite: in a theater.