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Reviews & Ratings for
"Portlandia" More at IMDbPro »

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54 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

Portlandia defines a generation. Let me rephrase.

Author: jjnoahjames ( from United States
13 February 2011

Portlandia is a sketch comedy show that contains two main characters played by Fred Armisen of SNL fame and Carrie Brownstein of popular band Sleater Kinney. These two come up with rad skits in which they play Hippy Vegans, Cult members, Cos Play characters, and Yuppies just to name a few. Every episode contains famous actors, which add to the fun!!

Port goes stageless! SNL, and Kids in The Hall take place on stages or sets. Port does not. This gives it a more authentic reality show feel which makes it more accessible and less artificial.

This show makes me feel like I know these people or grew up with them. They make fun of things me and my friends make fun of. Everyday young adults, who understand punk, politics, indie rock, college life, and getting over all of that will relate.

Portlandia is a 9 1/2 star show yet it's not over the top. It's not pretentious. This is why Port is for now. This generation. It's almost like a consistently funny SNL. An SNL that doesn't make fun of pop culture but rather everyday life. Therefore it's easy to laugh at again and again.

Though it's great Port lacks just little in two areas rewatchability and characters. If they could just some more stable characters and focus a little bit more on consistent relationships (non sketch stuff) to give the audience something to look forward to than maybe next season it will be a 10.

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32 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Above the standards for a sketch show

Author: salvodaze from Turkey
28 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sketch shows are generally not my thing since they tend to follow a tradition of being campy. Portlandia, on the other hand, is damn straight (and most importantly consistently) funny. I mean where else could I look to see a smart parody of a radical feminist lesbian played by a feminist lesbian? Or catch a glimpse of Kaia Wilson as a cafe customer during a sketch? I realize that these are partially (OK so the latter, completely) personal reasons to enjoy the show only more. However I think that anyone who enjoys absurd comedy with some social criticism would really appreciate the show.

I don't believe that creativity and the will to work on it comes by easily, so call me old fashioned but when I see someone showing a good bit of it, I support it.

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25 out of 39 people found the following review useful:


Author: scottrowley1643 from United States
7 February 2012

This is brilliant. It is so offbeat and quirky..very enjoyable. It may not be for everyone but you'll know right away if it's for you. The writing is so good. This isn't your ridiculous run-of-the-mill network comedy. You have met some of the characters before...self involved do-gooders, aged hippies, counter culture losers, the politically correct, protect the dogs but forget the people, people variously stuck in the 70s,80s and 90s all offbeat and most amusing. Portlandia will not appeal to people who enjoy: Jersey Shore, 2 1/2 Men, WWE. It may appeal to people who like: Walking Dead, Jericho, Breaking Bad. However, give it a will know..."the dream of the 90s is alive in Portland".

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

"Just one more episode ..."

Author: dunks58 from Australia
9 September 2012

If you like sketch comedy but have not yet discovered this series, take my advice - see this show. 'Portlandia' is, for me at least, the best American sketch comedy series I've seen since 'Upright Citizens Brigade'.

I don't know how accurately it depicts Portland and its denizens, but I do know that (A) it really makes me want to visit there and (B) it really, really makes me laugh.

Carrie Brownstein is new to me as comedian, though I of course know her musical work with indie darlings Sleater-Kinney. The brilliantly versatile Fred Armisen has deservedly earned a big fan base (including my family) through his work on SNL. Yet, who could have predicted that this combination of talent, in such an off-the-wall concept, could work so well? It really does, and I want to congratulate all associated with the series, notably the legendary Lorne Michaels for once again nurturing talents like Fred and Carrie and giving them the chance to do a great show like this.

Once you get the style and shape of the show, you'll be hooked. The sketches are, for the most part, really good and some (e.g. Chicken Farm, One More Episode of Galactica) are destined to become enduring classics.

The stars (in their multiple roles) are ably assisted by a fine cast of supporting performers and a BIG highlight of the series is the many surprising and hilarious cameo appearances, including people like Edward James Olmos, Aimee Mann and Greg Louganis (playing themselves) and of course the wonderful Kyle McLachlan as the Mayor. These bits work not only because of who the stars are, but also because in just about every case they are perfect for and in the sketch (c.f. Eddie Vedder's great cameo in the "boyfriend's tattoo" sketch).

Thanks Fred and Carrie and all the cast and crew - it's been a real delight to discover such a clever, quirky, inventive comedy series that consistently takes unexpected turns, gives a lot of laughs, and leaves you wanting more every time.

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

First season: 10 stars...Second season - 2 stars

Author: qormi from United States
1 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This show completely cracks me up. The strange characters portrayed by these talented people are too funny. The subtle humor and lack of a laugh track is something that is lacking on television. The mayor is a total pretentious jerk that probably reminds a lot of us of our bosses. The bizarre humor in the show is completely original and unrelenting. I hate it when they have back-to-back episodes on Saturday mornings because I can't get out of bed - can't turn it off. The bookstore women, the cult, the dumpster divers, the gender-reversed couple, the Portland "Thinkers"....too funny. It's the best thing to hit television since "Fernwood 2 Nite", circa 1975. This just in...the second season sucked. I removed 4 stars.

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24 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

This show is brilliant.

Author: nestle_snipes from Atlanta, United States
1 August 2011

The first episode I saw of this was the one with Aimmee Mann and Sarah Maclaughlin, I LOL'ed in real life and I am far from a person to LO. Sometimes I might chuckle or give a fees hearty laughs, but this show had my stomach hurting from laughing. My girlfriend was laying on my stomach as we it started to come on and she had to angrily huff as she flounced from laying on my chest. I was laughing so hard and I don't know if my laughter vibrations disturbed her or she is genuinely disturbed by me being happy. Either way I said to her "Come back over here" as I chuckled continually. The show itself is like the best skits of "Saturday Night Live" and each showcases the unique people of Portland and it makes me want to go to Portland and check it out.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

No Childishness Left Behind

Author: borderlinefilms from Canada
7 March 2014

When you see something as funny and, unlike other comedies, steadily improving as Portlandia, with it's good-natured ribbing of diverse and alternative lifestyles, a cultural distinction of Portland, Oregon, you wonder why... how can... Fred Armisen, the co-writer, co- creator and co-star of the show, end up as Seth Meyers' Paul Schaffer? It should be the other way around. It should be the Fred Armisen Hour with side-kick stiff, Seth Meyers. Fred shouldn't be wasting his time and talent scoring jingles for an after-midnight talk show with Mr. What-Should-I-Do-With-My-Hands Meyers.

There's nothing much to dislike about Portlandia. When two ex-punk rockers, Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, with a flair for ticklish irony, doll themselves up and paint a series of on-going comic vignettes, often as a male-female couple, sometimes lesbian bookstore owners, or swapping genders altogether (Carrie, the insensitive male, kills me!), using the city of Portland as their canvass, expectations weren't very high. What started out as a cute and clumsy IFC experiment, has become a surprisingly well-thought out, superbly executed and admirably smart program. They expertly poke fun at a full spectrum of West-Coast folk from bistro brunching hipsters to dumpster diving freegans.

This is more than just Sesame Street for stoners. Or another bright, flattering, playful satire for medicated skeptics. Fred and Carrie are on to something here, perhaps taking comedy to a new place, occupying a contemporary niche, avant-garde for millenials. It started getting better after the wonderfully neurotic Chloe Sevigny dropped in for a few appearances. Last week's episode with Oliva When-Do-I-Take-My-Top-Off Wilde had me giggling throughout. The only criticism I have of Portandia is that the two stars are front and center of every skit, at times dubiously playing themselves, and often stealing the spotlight from the city they're supposed to be showcasing/satirizing. They could make room for a couple of local Portland performers to develop their own routines. Especially now since Fred will be very busy twanging the banjo for another NBC SNL-derived star-fawning talk show.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A spear to the Granola heart

Author: macdonaldb from Washington State
4 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, I am a first-hand witness of the culture that this show brilliantly satirizes. Although many of these characters are fictitious and exaggerated, there is an uncanny truth to it. There are two kinds of people who watch this; those who get it, and those who don't. You do not need to be from Portland (Oregon, because there will be an eternal confusion between the two coastal cities, it's just that Portland, Maine is not as unique enough to base a sketch comedy off of) you only need to understand that there is a throwback sub-culture that pays homage to those San Francisco 60's-70's era hippies that, have either migrated north, or had kids and they moved north to go to PSU, to take a class that requires a book "The Vagina, An Owners Manual" that might be sold at Women & Women First bookstore downtown ( As seen in the show). While jabbing at this Alternative lifestyle, the same self-righteous coffee shop patrons that take animal rights to a new height (with braised meatballs for the loner dog) they are, ultimately endearing and will grow on you. I see the satire and I see the comedy, perhaps others cannot differentiate the two, but there is a blend of comedy here that is original (besides the Ben Stiller/ Genine Garrafalo feel to it) that will transcend past the sour critics, who the show most likely undermines anyways, and will, at worst, have a cult-following of devout fans of Portlandia.

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

from the eyes of a native

Author: Lee Eisenberg ( from Portland, Oregon, USA
27 September 2012

"Portlandia" is a parody of/homage to the City of Roses, depicting scenarios that look like typical Portland occurrences. "Saturday Night Live" cast member Fred Armisen and singer Carrie Brownstein play various characters that truly represent the city, with occasional guest stars. This is not a sitcom in the common sense. It's filmed on location, and the humor is sort of like the kind in Christopher Guest's movies. "Portlandia" isn't a masterpiece of a show, but it's a very fun look at my hometown. I can affirm that it's a pretty accurate portrayal. And a very funny one. This show probably won't be for everyone, but if you like quirky stuff then you'll probably enjoy it.

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10 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Hit and Miss, but the Hits are Big !

Author: nazztrader from United States
20 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I often find myself more interested in writing a highly critical review, mostly because I'm irritated by a film that cost a lot of money yet was awful, but this TV show deserves some commentary. Now don't get me wrong, this show has a lot of "misses." And it's not for those with a more traditional sense of humor, or who mostly enjoy crude, low-brow humor apparently meant for the teen crowd. However, I like absurd, bizarre humor, especially if it's got some social commentary, and at times Portlandia is very funny.

For example, in one scene the main characters (a couple) talk about how people throw so many good things away, and then proceed to "dumpster dive." There's nothing of value to anyone in that particular dumpster, except perhaps a half full bottle of vinegar. Undeterred, they decide that most of the trash in that dumpster possesses value. The man finds a tiny shirt (which was his, shrunken by a dryer, I think), and decides to put it on, though of course it fits horribly and looks ridiculous. I guess I enjoy this sort of thing because it exaggerates what we all know some people do, though they may not do it in a dumpster.

Sometimes, I don't really understand what they are trying do, if it's meant to be humorous, or if it's just incoherence for the sake of it, but I just go with it, and sometimes it does turn out to be funny, sometimes because after a while I find that I just have to laugh at it (such as a female musician who keeps dreaming of a pony, though it's not clear why). I also think that some right wing folk really think that there are a lot of Americans who are actually like this, mostly on the coasts, I guess. Was Obama really born in the USA? Well, if you don't think he was, you might actually believe that the Portlandians are real and represent millions, the left wing barbarian horde seeking to destroy baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet, presumably. A worthwhile absurdist comedy for an absurd period in US history, I guess.

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