- 8 Seasons
Portlandia is a sketch comedy show that debuted on IFC in 2011 and ran for eight seasons, concluding in 2018. The show was created by Jonathan Krisel, Fred Armisen, and Carrie Brownstein, who also starred in the series. The show is set in the city of Portland, Oregon, and is a satirical take on the city's progressive, hipster culture. The sketches range from parodies of popular culture to critiques of modern society, and often involve recurring characters and themes.
The show's lead actors, Armisen and Brownstein, are both known for their involvement in alternative music and comedy. Armisen was a cast member on Saturday Night Live for over a decade, while Brownstein was a member of the indie rock band Sleater-Kinney.
Many of the sketches on Portlandia involve absurd situations that are taken to their logical extreme. For example, one recurring sketch involves Armisen and Brownstein playing a couple who decide to watch every single movie on Netflix, a task that takes them years to complete. Another sketch involves a group of friends who are so obsessed with avoiding gluten that they resort to eating only discarded cake from the trash.
In addition to the recurring characters played by Armisen and Brownstein, the show also features a number of guest stars. These include musicians like Aimee Mann and Eddie Vedder, as well as actors like Kyle MacLachlan, Jeff Goldblum, and Kumail Nanjiani.
One of the show's signature features is its use of music. Armisen and Brownstein often perform musical sketches, sometimes accompanied by other musicians. The show's musical segments range from hilarious parodies of specific genres (like the feminist punk duo Toni and Candace) to poignant original songs (like the tribute to Portland titled "The Dream of the 90s").
The show's humor is often described as "quirky" or "offbeat." It is not always laugh-out-loud funny, but it is consistently clever and thought-provoking. Many of the show's sketches can be seen as commentary on contemporary culture, particularly the ways in which people try to make themselves unique or "special" in a world that often feels homogenized.
Overall, Portlandia is a brilliantly executed satire of modern society. Its unique blend of humor, music, and social commentary has earned it a devoted fanbase and critical acclaim. While the show may not be for everyone (its humor is definitely an acquired taste), those who appreciate its quirky, irreverent style will find much to love.
Portlandia is a series that is currently running and has 8 seasons (79 episodes). The series first aired on January 21, 2011.