New On Netflix: Portlandia: Season 1

[BoxTitle]Portlandia: Season 1[/BoxTitle] [Trailer][/Trailer] [Netflix] [NetflixAdd id="70185015"/] [NetflixWatch id="70185015"/]

“The dream of the ’90s is alive in Portland,” an elaborate song-and-dance number proclaims in the very first episode of this sketch comedy series starring Saturday Night Live‘s Fred Armisen and former Sleater-Kinney frontwoman Carrie Brownstein. While Portlandia was produced by SNL‘s uber-executive Lorne Michaels, it feels more like the postmodern companion piece to Fox’s short-lived The Ben Stiller Show, a series that simultaneously celebrated and ridiculed the hipster movement of the ’90s as it was actually going on. Portlandia gleefully attacks feminist bookstores, indie rock, coffee shop culture and grungy artistes with both clownish exaggeration and (somewhat appropriately) ironic detachment; while some sketches seem a little, well, outdated, the show’s surrealist sense of humor keeps you on your toes, perhaps ultimately inspiring more stares of disbelief than actual laughs. While Armisen and Brownstein never quite completely immerse themselves into any of their multiple characters, the various (and rather random) guest stars are enough to recommend a visit to Portlandia, with Kyle MacLachlan as the city’s eccentric mayor, Gus Van Sant as the moderator of the most pretentious film festival ever, Aubrey Plaza as a housesitter for a bizarre OCD couple and — best of all — Aimee Mann living a double life as a put-upon cleaning woman.

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