The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Entertainment & Events

June 13, 2013

Hip, cage-free TV: 'Portlandia' is renewed

PORTLAND, Ore. — In the last season of “Portlandia,” the mayor of this sustainability-obsessed city vanished in shame after he was singled out as Portland’s “No. 1 electricity hog,” Portland went into a blackout, cats barked, creepy music played, and a bizarre Australian who calls himself “Birdman” told guests at a bed and breakfast “there is no civilization.”

Carrie and Fred — about the only characters in “Portlandia” with any grip on reality — tracked down the mayor at a compound in the wilderness where he was leading a band of savages, a la Colonel Kurtz in “Apocalypse Now.”

“Do you come as assassins?” asks the muddled mayor, played by Kyle MacLachlan.

It’s impossible for Fred and Carrie to get through to him, until they reveal that Seattle — Portland’s archrival for hipness and progressivism — is about to take over their fair city.

“Under the cover of darkness, they might erect a Space Needle in Portland,” says Carrie, rousing the mayor from his stupor and prompting him to return to his office to get the lights turned back on.

And so ended Season Three of “Portlandia.”

There is a line from the first season of “Portlandia” that quickly became the show’s trademark: “Portland is a city where young people go to retire.”

That’s not the case for the creators and two stars of the show — Portlander Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen of “Saturday Night Live” fame. They are always looking for new ways to keep the show from getting stale.

Season Three, which ended this past March, was driven less by short sketches and more by narrative and character development.

The cable channel IFC said Wednesday it’s picking up the show for two more seasons.

They will premiere early next year and in 2015. Brownstein says the show will continue on the longer-narrative path, with more exploration of the dark side.

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