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Friday, February 25, 2011: Portlandia

by F. John Rickert February 25, 2011 6:00 am
Friday, February 25, 2011: Portlandia

To think, less than six weeks ago we had no idea that there was a place for young people to retire to. Nor did we even know just how far is far enough in making sure that our food is local and sustainable. Before Portlandia premiered (on TV, that is -- as we know, all prior online iterations don't count until they're on TV), most of us didn't even have any way of knowing that SNL cast member Fred Armisen is funny.

The show seems at first to be all about poking fun at hipsters and their clueless faux self-awareness and very real self-absorption. But unlike so many pokes at generic aimless twentysomethings, after watching Portlandia their world is suddenly deepened. The ironic facial hair, tribal tattoos and piercings, and other cool trappings are all there, but are only the props and never the punchlines to jokes. Because of this, the show never feels stale.

Of course, even if Portlandia was as shallow as its residents we would keep watching. Every week has upped the ante with its niche guest stars from the city's mayor in the second and third episodes to James Mercer of The Shins and Colin Meloy of The Decemberists last week. Although, it would be awesome if they brought back Steve Buscemi after locking him in a feminist book store in the first episode.

Catch this year's last glimpse into the place where the dream of the 90s is still alive tonight at 10:30 on IFC.

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