Last week I had the honor of attending a meet and greet lunch at Besaws with the stars of Portlandia, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein (the duo behind the website Thunderant). The show is set air on IFC sometime in early 2011.
The first thing you should know about Portlandia is that they’re not making fun of anybody. Okay? THEY'RE NOT MAKING FUN OF US.
Co-Executive Producer, Andrew Singer says, "One thing I think that’s important to Fred and Carrie is to communicate to the local audience and the country that they love Portland and it should feel as celebratory as it is satirical. It’s not meant to make fun of Portland. We want people, the locals especially, to feel like it’s a cool thing and its not like they’re the butt of the joke.
Director, Jonathan Krisel chimes in, "Yeah, most of the time, these two [Fred and Carrie] are the butt of the joke and Portland gets the last laugh."
Before sitting down to eat, Fred and Carrie had to answer some fairly lame questions from a TV reporter who got some facts wrong, and was told by Brownstein to never “listen to anything on the news”. BURN!
More after the jump...
This is my favorite Thunderant video: Brownstein plays Cindy Overton, Boink correspondent to the nation's only Independent Music and Culture show, who interviews Punk Rock Saddam Hussein.
Fred on his Saddam Character.
He’s a basic guitarist, he’s not a virtuoso, but he’s the kind of guitar player that Pete Townshend would be or Joe Strummer—strong chords, good knowledge of blues and reggae and punk chords, but certainly not guitar solo guy. At the time I was fascinated by him because he was on trial and he wore this suit and he had this beard and was a little more thin and just looked like this aging rock star to me. He was angry, he was like, yelling at the judge, and seemed like more than just a rock star... he seemed so British to me. He looked great.
On "Portlandish" stereotypes.
Fred: What keeps happening is we keep finding out the characters we came up with are actually real. We did this thing, where we’re dumpster divers—not homeless people, but "freegans"—so we shot it, but then yesterday we were shooting something on a farm and one of the extras was talking about how she was a dumpster diver. Everything we had talked about were things she brought up after the fact—so we knew we were on the right track.
Carrie: She made her own Internet connection, from a Trader Joes' dumpster.
Fred on guest stars.
Heather Graham, who said she hadn’t been here since she filmed Drugstore Cowboy. Aubrey Plaza, from Parks and Recreation, played two different characters: a visitor to the feminist bookstore, and then she’s house-sitting for us. We're a very weird couple, and its this very modern house and we’re showing her how to use everything. Kyle McLachlan as your Mayor and Mayor Sam Adams as the Mayors assistant, Steve Buscemi, Sarah McLachlan, Amy Mann, Jason Sudeikis, Selma Blair.
On live music.
Carrie: We went to Drum Fair.
Fred: Yeah it was really cool, it was at this drum shop, and it was outdoors. That was really great but besides that we've been too busy working to get to any shows.
Director, Jonathan Krisel: We wanted to shoot a whole episode that took place at a music festival, and then we were like 'oh my god, its next week,' [MFNW] so we’re going to shoot a little bit around that. But we did made our own festival, so we have a whole episode about bands coming to town and people trying to play venues, its going to be awesome.
Carrie: Yeah, we had a bunch of local musicians playing those bands.
Director, Jonathan Krisel: Oh yeah, because we had James Mercer (Shins), Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney) and Colin Meloy (Decemberists) playing in like a super group band.
On favorite local bands.
Fred: I mean Sleater-Kinney was like my favorite band, I loved and loved Sleater-Kinney so much. There were times in my life when I listened to nothing but their albums beginning to end—they’re such a huge deal to me. I’m still a little star struck by Carrie, like on the outside I’m normal, but on the inside I’m like 'wow it’s Carrie from Sleater-Kinney.'
Carrie: I really like Menomena and The Shins, and I really loved Explode Into Colors. There is no a shortage of bands to love here.