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“Portlandia—The other side of Portland, Oregon

Thursday, January 26, 2012 by cyberacoustics

Even though I’ve been working and living on the west coast for over 20 years, I still say I am from the east coast. I’ve lived outside of Boston, NYC, and Washington, DC. I’m a die-hard Yankees and Giants fan and understand the way of life back there, but I’ve been lucky enough to visit just about every major city in America. Each one has its own personality and distinctive culture. But when it comes to Portland, Oregon (“Ore-gone” if you’re a non-native), this city is in a world of its own.

It’s so unique, in fact, that IFC’s show “Portlandia,” which is based on Portland culture is IFC’s #1-watched show. The show’s success isn’t just about writing funny jokes and booking excellent cameos (including Aubrey Plaza, Jason Sudeikis, St. Vincent, Steve Buscemi, Kyle MacLachlan, and more). Portlandia strikes a fine balance of killing its targets with kindness. Every lampoon is biting but delivered with just enough love that Portland’s occasionally passive-aggressive and hipster population really can’t believe that they’re being targeted. But they are. And that’s what makes it so funny.

Check out this video: 

The sketches this season, versus the last, are shorter, more sharply edited, and structured to not only start with a clever premise, but take it a few steps further and finish with a joke that takes it to an even more logical comic extreme. It's classic sketch comedy structure, and a welcome addition to the show's signature whimsy and love of absurdity. 

Portlandia is also a hit on the Internet and the social web thanks to a flood of official clips posted on YouTube and the show’s website. It’s a show that understands the importance of the web even if its, you know, too cool to tweet about everything in its life. It’s different and quirky and like British humor it might not be for all, but it might be worth checking out. Do you like Portlandia? Do you feel like it’s an accurate representation of life in Portland? As always, let me know in the comments.

-Steve Murphy, CA CFO

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