That's right, folks! After publicly complaining that last week's episode was "really, really, REALLY BAD," Friday night's episode of Portlandia generated three honest-to-god gut laffs from me. (Only one of which came from Fred or Carrie—but I'll take 'em where I can get 'em, right?) Join me for the recap after the jump AND my reaction to the announcement that Portlandia has been granted a second season!
So Episode #4 started off with the already internet famous "Did You Read?" sketch (seen above), which featured F&C trying to outdo each other in the "Did you read that article?" department. Now, I kinda like this sketch (although didn't laugh out loud about it) because the people being skewered here aren't your average "put a bird on it" type of easy targets. The editing is great, and has a nice build. On the other hand, it went on way too long, had a cheesy ending, and TOTALLY misused the amazingly talented Shelley McLendon (of Liberators' sketch comedy fame) by only giving her one tiny line. HEY FRED AND CARRIE! There are SO many talented comedians here! Quit yer goddamn camera hoggin'!
What I did appreciate about this episode is that—even though the show is still beating the "Theater of the Annoying" horse to death— Fred and Carrie didn't play ALL the annoying characters this time around. Carrie was the "normal (though still grumpy)" one in the not very funny Wieden + Kennedy sketch (which at least made good use of other characters), and F&C played it straight in a verrrrry amusing sketch involving a Wireless Toyz salesman trying to sell the pair an incredibly complicated phone plan. (THAT GUY WAS GREAT, btw, and generated the two biggest laughs, because the satire was spot-on.)
There was also a rather ho-hum thread about the Mayor going missing and joining a reggae band—which was a total botched opportunity to satirize our current mayor's scandals, but… whatever. I'm learning to manage my expectations. Oh, and does anybody know who the gal is that co-starred in the house sitting sketch? SHE'S KA-UTE, and I wanna kiss her! (Unless she's like 16 or whatever.) Fred made me laugh once during that sketch, too, but that was it for this week's laff-o-meter. Here's the "House Sitter" sketch and that KA-UTE gal!
OKAY! So even though this episode was clearly better—though not a poop ton—from last week, I'm still not throwing confetti over the announcement that Portlandia is moving on to a second season. I understand why IFC did it... after all, what else do they got? I do hope however, F&C will make a conscious effort to minimize their screen time somewhat, satirize worthier topics, and depend a lot less on annoying paper-thin characterizations. (Hmmm... I just realized I would do well to take this very same advice. MIND BLOWN!!)