Philosophising about the 'S'-word: Watch… and learn
Portlandia is a sketch comedy television series set and filmed in and around Portland, Oregon, starring Fred Armisen (Out There) and Carrie Brownstein (Transparent). The show is produced by Broadway Video Television and IFC Original Productions. It was created by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, along with Jonathan Krisel, who directs it. It debuted on IFC on January 21, 2011.
The show shares its title with the sculpture of the same name that sits above the entrance of the Portland Building on Fifth Avenue in downtown Portland, which appears in the show’s title sequence. The show has won a Peabody Award.
In January 2017, the series was renewed for an eighth and final season to debut in 2018.
Most of the sketches on Portlandia feature Armisen and Brownstein playing one of a variety of pairs of characters, most of which appear in multiple episodes. One of those pairings is “Fred and Carrie”, a naturalistic depiction that is supposed to represent versions of the actors as if they were friends living together in a house in Portland. Most of the others use makeup, costumes, and wigs to depict pairings both young and old of various types. Sometimes cross-dressing is used, as when Armisen portrays Candace, co-owner of the Women and Women First bookstore, or when Armisen and Brownstein play Nina and Lance, a couple with very stereotypical gender roles.
There are also a small number of recurring characters played by other actors, such as the Mayor of Portland and his assistant (played by Kyle MacLachlan, The Good Wife, Believe, How I Met Your Mother, Twin Peaks and Sam Adams, the actual mayor from 2009-2012), Fred and Carrie’s landlord (played by Steve Buscemi, who also directed several episodes), Angel (played by Angel Bouchet, who appears in multiple episodes as herself), and a swinger couple (played by Ebbe Roe Smith and Kristine Levine).