Portlandia (TV series)

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Portlandia
An image of a city skyline in daytime. White text reads "Portlandia".
Genre
Created by
Starring
  • Fred Armisen
  • Carrie Brownstein
Opening theme"Feel It All Around" by Washed Out
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes77 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Production location(s)Portland, Oregon
Camera setupSingle camera
Production company(s)
Release
Original networkIFC
Picture format480i (NTSC)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseJanuary 21, 2011 (2011-01-21) – March 22, 2018 (2018-03-22)
External links
Website

Portlandia is a sketch comedy television series set and filmed in and around Portland, Oregon, starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.[1] The show was produced by Broadway Video Television and IFC Original Productions. It was created by Armisen and Brownstein, along with Jonathan Krisel, who directs it. It debuted on IFC on January 21, 2011.[2]

The show shared its title with the sculpture of the same name that sits above the entrance of the Portland Building on Fifth Avenue in downtown Portland,[3] which appears in the show's title sequence. The show has won a Peabody Award.

In January 2017, the series was renewed for an eighth and final season, which concluded on March 22, 2018.[4]

Production[edit]

Conception and development[edit]

Brownstein and Armisen first met in 2003 and began collaborating on a series of comedy sketches for the Internet in 2005 titled ThunderAnt. The sketches became increasingly Portland-centric, with premises ranging from irate diners at a popular Hawthorne District restaurant registering ridiculous complaints on the review website Yelp! to a character's disastrous one-man performance at the city's Hollywood Theatre.[5]

In July 2009, the duo pitched their idea for a full-fledged sketch comedy show to IFC and Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video production company, and the project was quickly approved.[5]

Some of the content on the show first appeared in the web series; the "Women & Women First" feminist bookstore sketch and its owners' characters, Toni and Candace, originated there.[6]

Filming and production[edit]

The series is set and filmed on location in Portland, Oregon. Production for the first season, consisting of six episodes, began in August 2010 and was completed in September 2010.[7] The budget for the first season was set at less than $1 million (US).[5] Along with Allison Silverman, a former head writer and executive producer for The Colbert Report, and Portlandia director Jonathan Krisel, Armisen and Brownstein wrote the sketches that appear in the first six episodes. Lorne Michaels served as executive producer.[8]

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, stars of the show.

The series stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in various roles. Guest stars include: Kirsten Dunst; Olivia Wilde; Selma Blair; Chloë Sevigny; Roseanne Barr; Steve Buscemi; Aimee Mann; Johnny Marr; Sarah McLachlan; Brownstein's Sleater-Kinney bandmate, Janet Weiss; KD Lang; Jello Biafra; Kurt Vile; Heather Graham; Michael Nesmith; Aubrey Plaza; Kumail Nanjiani; Jason Sudeikis; Ehren McGhehey; Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam; Edward James Olmos; J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr.; Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age;[9] Gus Van Sant; Tim Robbins; Martina Navratilova; Jeff Goldblum; Joanna Newsom; Annie Clark; Jack White; Portland Trail Blazers players LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard and Robin Lopez as themselves and Kyle MacLachlan as a fictional mayor of Portland. Actual Portland mayor Sam Adams is also featured as an assistant to the mayor.[2][10] Another episode, including a fictionalized music festival similar to Portland's actual MusicfestNW, featured a rock band played by Colin Meloy and Jenny Conlee of The Decemberists; James Mercer of The Shins; Brownstein's Sleater-Kinney bandmates: Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss; and Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse.[11]

On February 14, 2011, IFC ordered a ten-episode second season, which began airing in January 2012.[12] On March 21, 2012, IFC announced its renewal of the show for a third season.[13] On June 12, 2013, the network announced its renewal of Portlandia for fourth and fifth seasons, of ten episodes each, that aired in early 2014 and early 2015.[14] On February 10, 2015, it was announced that IFC had picked up Portlandia for sixth and seventh seasons.[15]

In January 2017, the series was renewed for an eighth and final season to debut in 2018.[4] Filming for the final season began in Portland in June 2017.[16]

Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
16January 21, 2011 (2011-01-21)February 25, 2011 (2011-02-25)
210January 6, 2012 (2012-01-06)March 9, 2012 (2012-03-09)
311December 14, 2012 (2012-12-14)March 1, 2013 (2013-03-01)
410February 27, 2014 (2014-02-27)May 1, 2014 (2014-05-01)
510January 8, 2015 (2015-01-08)March 12, 2015 (2015-03-12)
610January 21, 2016 (2016-01-21)March 24, 2016 (2016-03-24)
710January 5, 2017 (2017-01-05)March 9, 2017 (2017-03-09)
810January 18, 2018 (2018-01-18)March 22, 2018 (2018-03-22)

Characters[edit]

Most of the sketches on Portlandia feature Armisen and Brownstein playing one of a variety of pairs of characters, most of which appear in multiple episodes. One of those pairings is "Fred and Carrie", a naturalistic depiction that is supposed to represent versions of the actors as if they were friends living together in a house in Portland. Most of the others use makeup, costumes, and wigs to depict pairings both young and old of various types. Sometimes cross-dressing is used, as when Armisen portrays Candace, co-owner of the Women and Women First bookstore, or when Armisen and Brownstein swap genders to play the couple Nina and Lance.

There are also a small number of recurring characters played by other actors, such as the Mayor of Portland and his assistant (played by Kyle MacLachlan and Sam Adams, the actual mayor from 2009-2012), Fred and Carrie's landlord (played by Steve Buscemi, who also directed several episodes), Angel (played by Angel Bouchet, who appears in multiple episodes as herself), and a swinger couple (played by Ebbe Roe Smith and Kristine Levine).

Reception[edit]

Jonathan Krisel, Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein and Lorne Michaels at the Peabody Awards.

Portlandia debuted on IFC on January 21, 2011.[17] IFC "cheered" the first episode's Nielsen ratings of 263,000 viewers (live plus same day); factoring in repeats and three days' worth of DVR viewings, the number grew to 725,000, a figure that does not include an estimated 500,000 online preview viewings on IFC.com, Hulu and YouTube during the days before the official IFC premiere.[18] As of May 1, 2012 the series was available to watch on Netflix in Ireland and the UK.[19]

The show has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. Review aggregator site Metacritic has given the first season a rating of 71 out of 100, and the second season a rating of 75 out of 100. Both of these ratings fall within the site's range of "generally favorable reviews".[20][21] Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times called the show "funny and charming."[22] Verne Gay of Newsday awarded the series an "A" grade and called it "hilarious". He noted that "Brownstein and Armisen move so effortlessly between characters, then execute their riffs, tics, styles and voices with such skilled abandon that before long this doesn't seem like satire any longer but a fun house mirror reflection of intensely real people."[23] Contrarily, Brian Lowry, writing for Variety, noted that the show was "clearly on a shoestring budget" and said that it featured an "array of tiresome characters" that provided "further proof not everyone deserves a sketch comedy showcase - especially when the premise cuts no deeper than vignettes inspired by the wheat-germy, hippie-ish environs of Portland, Ore."[24] Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is a fan of the show. In a 2014 interview he said, "I think that's the best comedy on TV right now, and it's easily one of the best comedies of all time".[25]

The sketches set in the feminist bookstore "Women and Women First" were filmed in an actual non-profit feminist bookstore and event center in Portland named In Other Words; this name can be seen on the chalkboard listing in-store events behind the cash register. Although the feminist bookstore and community center, In Other Words, formerly referenced the show in promoting itself, the store decided to end its relationship with the show in late 2016, stating in a blog post that "the location and staff were mistreated during a filming session, the show is trans-antagonistic and trans-misogynist, becoming more offensive as time goes on, the show doesn't reflect the diversity of the Portland area and contributes to gentrification."[26]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Portlandia won a Peabody Award in 2011 "for its good-natured lampooning of hipster culture, which hits the mark whether or not you’re in on the joke."[27] Portlandia also won an Emmy Award in 2011 for Outstanding Costumes for a Variety Program or Special and was also nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series in the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards.[28] Former Portland mayor Sam Adams (2009 to 2012) also appeared on the show and proclaimed January 21, 2011, Portlandia Day. The proclamation included a decorative bird, referring to a joke in the TV series.[29] A bicycle tour company began offering Portlandia tours.[30]

For the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, the show received nominations in Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Fred Armisen, Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series for Jonathan Krisel, and Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for Steve Buscemi for the episode "Celery".

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2011 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Music Program, or Special Amanda Needham and Nichole Dimitras (for "Farm") Won
2012 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series Jonathan Krisel (for "One Moore Episode") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Jonathan Krisel and Karey Dornetto Nominated
Peabody Award Area of Excellence Portlandia Won
Writers Guild of America Awards Comedy/Variety (including talk) series Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Karey Dornetto, Jonathan Krisel, Bill Oakley Won
2013 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series Jonathan Krisel (for "Alexandra") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Jonathan Krisel and Bill Oakley Nominated
Outstanding Costumes for a Variety Program or a Special Amanda Needham (for "Blackout") Won
Writers Guild of America Awards Comedy/Variety (including talk) series Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Jonathan Krisel, Bill Oakley Nominated
Art Directors Guild Awards Multi-Camera Unscripted Series Tyler Robinson, Schuyler Telleen and Katherine Isom Won
2014 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Fred Armisen Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Steve Buscemi Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series Jonathan Krisel (for "Getting Away") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Jonathan Krisel, Graham Wagner and Karey Dornetto Nominated
Outstanding Art Direction for Variety, Nonfiction, Reality or Reality-Competition Program Tyler B. Robinson, Schuyler Telleen and Katherine Isom (for "Celery") Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series Bill Benz and Daniel Gray Longino (for "Getting Away") Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Award Best Direction in a Comedy Series Portlandia Nominated
Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Steve Buscemi Nominated
2015 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety Sketch Series Portlandia Nominated
Outstanding Production Design for Variety, Nonfiction, Reality, or Reality-Competition Programming Tyler Robinson, Schuyler Telleen, and Katherine Isom ("Dead Pets") Won
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Carrie Brownstein Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Award Best Male Performance in a Fiction Program Fred Armisen Nominated
Best Female Performance in a Fiction Program Carrie Brownstein Nominated
Best Ensemble in a Fiction Program Nominated
2016 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety Sketch Series Portlandia Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Jonathan Krisel, Graham Wagner and Karey Dornetto Nominated
Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Nonfiction, Reality, or Reality-Competition Series Schuyler Telleen and Katherine Isom (for "Family Emergency," "Pickathon," "Weirdo Beach") Won
Online Film & Television Association Award Best Variety Program Portlandia Nominated
Best Female Performance in a Variety Program Carrie Brownstein Nominated
Best Ensemble in a Variety, Reality or Non-Fiction Program Nominated
Best Writing of a Variety Program Nominated
Art Directors Guild Awards Variety, Reality or Competition Series Schuyler Telleen Nominated
2017 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety Sketch Series Portlandia Nominated
Outstanding Costumes for Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Program Amanda Needham, Jayme Hansen and Jordan Hamilton (for "Carrie Dates a Hunk") Nominated
Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Nonfiction, Reality, or Reality-Competition Series Schuyler Telleen and Katherine Isom (for "Fred's Cell Phone Company") Nominated
2018 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety Sketch Series Portlandia Nominated [31]
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series Carrie Brownstein (for "Riot Spray") Nominated
ACE Eddie Awards Best Edited Comedy Series for Commercial Television Heather Capps, Ali Greer and Jordan Kim (for "Amore") Nominated [32]
Art Directors Guild Awards Variety or Competition Series/Awards or Event Special Schuyler Telleen (for "Portland Secedes", "Ants", "Fred’s Cell Phone Company") Won [33]
Writers Guild of America Awards Comedy/Variety - Sketch Series Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Karen Kilgariff, Jonathan Krisel, Graham Wagner Nominated [34]

Home and international release[edit]

Portlandia: Season One was released on Region 1 DVD and Blu-ray on December 6, 2011, and Region 4 on August 1, 2012. The one disc set consists of all six episodes of its first season. Special features include; Extended Scenes, Bloopers, An IFC Behind-the-Scenes Featurette, "Thunder Ant" Sketches, and Audio Commentary by Armisen and Brownstein.[35][36]

Portlandia: Season Two was released on Region 1 DVD and Blu-ray on September 25, 2012, and Region 4 on August 7, 2013. The two disc set consists of all ten episodes of season two. Special features include; "Portlandia: the Tour: Seattle" Featurette, "Inside Portlandia" Featurette, "Feminist Bookstore" Deleted Scene, "Brunch Village: the Director's Cut", Excerpt from the Portlandia book and Audio Commentary by Armisen, Brownstein and Krisel.[37]

There is also a combination set of both seasons available.[38] Portlandia was also distributed in some countries on the iTunes store, Netflix and Amazon Video.[39] In Australia it is screened on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's station ABC2 and on its iView video streaming service.[40] The series was premiered in Latin America on March 27, 2012 on the channel I.Sat.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "I Have a New Band". NPR: All Songs Considered. NPR. September 22, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Turnquist, Kristi (September 9, 2010). "IFC's 'Portlandia' crew says joke won't be on our fair city". The Oregonian. Advance Publications. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  3. ^ "Portlandia, the TV Show". Portland, Oregon: KOIN. September 13, 2010. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2010. The series gets its name from the Raymond Kaskey sculpture above the entrance of the Portland Building on Fifth Avenue.
  4. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (January 14, 2017). "'Portlandia' Renewed For Eighth & Final Season By IFC, Will There Be Spinoffs:TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Aaron, Mesh (November 3, 2010). "Mock Star – Carrie Brownstein is Making Fun of You". Willamette Week. Archived from the original on January 5, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  6. ^ http://www.ifc.com/fix/2014/12/15-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-portlandia
  7. ^ "Portlandia, the TV Show". KOIN News. KOIN. September 13, 2010. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  8. ^ Locker, Melissa (August 6, 2010). "SNL Fans Prepare for 'Portlandia'". IFC. Archived from the original on August 16, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  9. ^ Locker, Melissa (April 15, 2014). "Josh Homme Is a Disappointing Gay Man on Portlandia". IFC. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  10. ^ Mesh, Aaron (September 9, 2010). "Portlandia Shooting Fake MusicfestNW at MusicfestNW". Willamette Week. Movies & Television. Archived from the original on September 14, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  11. ^ "News Slightly Less Insidery Than Portlandia". Willamette Week. Scoop. September 15, 2010. Archived from the original on October 9, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  12. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (February 14, 2011). "IFC Orders Second Season of 'Portlandia'". The New York Times. Arts Beat. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  13. ^ "'Portlandia' Renewed for Third Season". Rolling Stone. March 21, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 12, 2013). "'Portlandia' Renewed For Seasons 4 & 5". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  15. ^ Roots, Kimberley (February 10, 2015). "Portlandia Renewed for Seasons 6 & 7". TVLine.com. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  16. ^ Turnquist, Kristi (June 21, 2017). "'Portlandia' back in Portland". The Oregonian. p. B16. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  17. ^ "Portlandia Season 1, Ep. 1 'Farm'". Amazon.com. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  18. ^ "IFC Cheers Ratings, Views Of 'Onion' 'Portlandia'". Multichannel News. January 27, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  19. ^ "Portlandia Comes Only to Netflix in the UK and Ireland, and the first season is available in the US". Netflix. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  20. ^ "Portlandia – Season 1 Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. January 21, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  21. ^ "Portlandia – Season 2 Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. January 21, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  22. ^ Lloyd, Robert; Critic, Television (January 21, 2011). "Television review: 'Portlandia'". Los Angeles Times.
  23. ^ Gay, Verne (January 19, 2011). "'Portlandia' is a Hoot of Satire". Newsday. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  24. ^ Lowry, Brian (January 19, 2011). "Onion News Network, Portlandia". Variety. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  25. ^ "Is Portlandia One of the Best Comedies of All Time? Jerry Seinfeld Thinks So". Vulture. October 2, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  26. ^ "Fuck Portlandia". In Other Words Blog. In Other Words Staff. September 30, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  27. ^ 71st Annual Peabody Awards, May 2012
  28. ^ "IFC Original Comedy Series "Portlandia" Nominated for Two Emmy Awards". The Futon Critic. July 19, 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  29. ^ Maerz, Melissa (January 30, 2011). "For the birds? 'Portlandia' lovingly pokes fun at Portland, Ore". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  30. ^ Rose, Joseph (January 25, 2011). "Portland company offers 'Portlandia bike rides'". The Oregonian. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  31. ^ Hipes, Patrick (July 12, 2018). "Emmy Nominations: 'Game Of Thrones, 'The Americans', 'Atlanta', Defending Champ 'Handmaid's Tale' Among Top Nominees". Deadline. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  32. ^ Carolyn Giardina (January 3, 2018). "'Dunkirk,' 'Shape of Water,' 'Baby Driver' Among ACE Eddie Awards Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  33. ^ Petski, Matt Grobar,Denise (January 28, 2018). "Art Directors Guild Awards Live Blog & Winners List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  34. ^ Littleton, Cynthia. "Writers Guild Award TV Nominations: 'The Americans,' 'Handmaid's Tale,' 'GLOW' Grab Multiple Mentions". Variety. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  35. ^ "Announcement for Portlandia – Season 1". TVShowsOnDVD. May 25, 2007. Archived from the original on January 14, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  36. ^ "Portlandia: Series 1 (DVD)". EzyDVD. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  37. ^ Lambert, David (June 27, 2012). "Portlandia – Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in 'Season 2' for DVD and Blu". TVShowsOnDVD. Archived from the original on June 29, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  38. ^ Lambert (September 19, 2012). "Portlandia – Official Press Release for 'Season 2' on DVD, Blu-ray (and Combo S1/S2 DVD)". TVShowsOnDVD. Archived from the original on September 23, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  39. ^ See the search indexes of the iTunes store and of Amazon.com, accessed 2012 10 1
  40. ^ "Portlandia: ABC TV". Retrieved September 8, 2015.

External links[edit]