The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Entertainment & Events

June 13, 2013

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


It’s too early to say what’s going to happen after 2015. But that might be the end of the road for “Portlandia.”

“I’d like to develop and write other shows, comedy of some sort,” the 38-year-old Brownstein said in an interview at a Portland coffee shop.

“Five seasons intuitively feels like the right amount of time for ‘Portlandia’ to be around,” she said. “I always think people overstay their welcome. It’s better to leave people wanting more. But you never know.”

If “Portlandia” is a sendup of overzealous progressives and hipsters, it’s become hip to watch the show. It’s the most-watched series on IFC, whose targeted audience is the age 18-49 range.

Everyone has a favorite episode of “Portlandia,” which debuted in January 2011. It might be when a cyclist (Armisen) asserts his rights by hollering, “I’m on a bike. I’m in a bike lane here” and says “Cars, man, why?” It might be the couple in a restaurant who are about to order chicken. They ask whether the chicken is USDA organic, Oregon organic or Portland organic. The waitress brings the chicken’s papers and tells the couple it had a name: Colin. The couple visits the farm where Colin was raised to make sure it had been a good home for him.

“Portlandia” fans are able to recite lines like fans of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” People use the TV show as a yardstick to measure quirky events in everyday life: “That’s just like a scene out of ‘Portlandia.’”

Brownstein said Portland is not “the sole inspiration for the show,” but that the city serves as a “signifier for an emotional landscape people are traversing.” In “Portlandia,” that emotional landscape is largely populated by sanctimonious humans whose obsessive pursuit of a sustainable lifestyle can clash with the desires of others. Somehow, “Portlandia” manages to portray such types with warmth.

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