NETFLIX Pick of the Week
Portlandia (2011-2013): The ultimate hipster comedy sketch show.
The dreams of the nineties are alive in Portland. That's the idea introduced by the mission statement song in the first episode of Portlandia, a city where people are content to be unambitious, sleep til 11, form bands and get piercings. It's a city where young people go to retire.
That's the world that this offbeat comedy sketch show inhabits, brought to life by a host of characters played by Fred Armisen (SNL) and Carrie Brownstein (a former member of rock band Sleater Kinney), with occasional special guests. Kyle MacLachlan is the mayor, Jeff Goldblum owns an artisan knot shop, Chloe Sevigny becomes the object of two housemates' desires and musicians often show up including Aimee Mann, The Decemberists, St. Vincent, Joanna Newsom and Jack White.
One of the best skits is when the pair get so engrossed in a Battlestar Galactica TV box set that they forgo all social obligations and binge watch all the episodes. When they realise they've watched them all, they reassemble the cast and make them write and perform more episodes.
Some of the series' best moments are a whisker away from a hipster moustache. Put A Bird On It sends up craft types who literally put a bird on objects and call it art. There's a judgemental Vintage Clothing store worker, a shop run by two girls which sells two shirts, a vegan deli which has a designated fart patio and the restaurant guests who go to such great lengths to ensure their roast chicken is ethical that they visit the farm before ordering, just to make sure. The feminist bookstore owners who despise their customers and their lesser ideals above all else are a cringey hoot.