The dream of the ’90s is still alive and funny on IFC’s new show, “Portlandia” (review, clip)

It isn't as easy as it looks to make mockery of liberal hippies, but that's usually because the jokes are coming from conservatives who are unfunny pricks about it.

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein certainly aren't that. They know their targets. They know their target audience. And in their collaboration together for IFC's new show, Portlandia, they are all of them and more in a spot-on series of sketches and studies of the eccentric characters who inhabit Portland, Ore. Count Brownstein among them. She's better known as part of Portland band Sleater-Kinney. But she proves she can hang comedically with Armisen — who used his summer break from SNL to film the first season in Portland — as they deftly move from organic diners to lesbian feminist bookstore owners to an alternate version of themselves. They're aided and abetted in this by contributions from Jason Sudeikis (who played a charismatic polygamist farmer in the premiere episode), Kyle MacLachlan (who plays the mayor), Heather Graham (who plays hot) and others. Although their city is played for laughs, I hope the people of Portland (Ore. branch) can recognize that this satire is also a bit of a love letter to them.

The series plays like a string of silly SNL digital shorts, all anchored by Armisen and Brownstein.

Exhibit A: Here's the music video that serves as an opening anthem for the show, "I Dream of the '90s."


Further evidence: As is his wont, Jesse Thorn from "The Sound of Young America" gets to the heart of the matters with Armisen and Brownstein in this recent broadcast transmission. Listen!

The Sound of Young America

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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