BLOGS

The Telefile
<i>Portlandia</i> is <I>2 Broke Girls</i> for the Discerning Viewer’s Soul

IFC is doing a serious media blitz for Season 2 of Portlandia and there's a good reason why: the Fred Armisen-Carrie Brownstein vehicle is pretty damn funny and only improving with time. Perhaps the campaign has drawn the attention of those who aren't usually fans of IFC shows or shy away from anything that looks this hipster-y. If you're amongst that crowd, I encourage you to give it a shot (new installments return tonight at 10 PM, and if you Like its Facebook page, you can even watch the full second episode for free, right now) , especially if you like, hate or have any kind of opinion on CBS' 2 Broke Girls. Here's why it's worth your time:

The Two Leads Have Amazing Chemistry
People who are still hanging in and watching 2 Broke Girls (present company included) will be the first to tell you that the best part about that show is Max and Caroline's excellent relationship. Armisen and Brownstein also share a fantastic chemistry and are well-matched in their energy levels. Their dynamic is especially important when it's thrown into sketch format, considering the entire show is just them making fun of people -- while playing those people -- and wearing different wigs. Even better, you get to see the duo in new settings all the time, which is something I wish I could say about 2 Broke Girls and that awful diner.

The Characters Can Be Wacky and Archetypal without Being Racist
Han and (more so) Oleg are pretty horrifying characters, and they're the main reason why, when I try to convince people that 2 Broke Girls isn't that bad, people look at me like I'm crazy. Something I really love about Portlandia is that the writers don't seem to have any problems writing for a person regardless of their age, gender, size, shape or color. If there is a person of Asian descent, they will not automatically be dorky virgins who speak in broken English. If a woman is attractive, it doesn't immediately mean she'll be a bitchy or dumb. Some actors on the show are actually fat, and there's nothing particularly "quirky" about them. See where I'm going with this? And this isn't to target just 2 Broke Girls -- Portlandia is one of the only series on TV with actual diversity without that very diversity being a punch line in and of itself.

It's Really Good at Making Fun of Hipsters
There's definitely a paradox happening here, as Portlandia is amazing at making fun of hipsters in a way that 2 Broke Girls can't really land -- and that's because the writers of Portlandia are clearly hipsters (or at least well-versed in hipster culture) writing, in part, for other hipsters. Instead of lazy jokes in 2 Broke Girls where Max will tell some annoying customer in a beanie that they paid $20 to look homeless (or something to that endless degree) over a head-pounding laugh track, Armisen and Brownstein will dress up as the people who are shopping for the beanie after reading about it in the Sunday New York Times, be berated by the condescending jerks who work in the store, drop $200 for it and wear it while visiting a vegan farm.

It Makes Fun of a Metropolitan Population
On a final note: There is plenty of room for both shows to exist, and that's made clear by the fact that 2 Broke Girls have endless jokes about New York City in its arsenal, where Portlandia's got the West Coast jokes covered. There's truly something for everyone, even if both shows can be a little rough around the edges sometimes.

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