THERE SEEM to be three opinions about the television show Portlandia: (1) "It's pretty funny, I like it." (2) "It's the worst. I named my dog Sleater-Kinney because of it, and I HATE MY DOG." And (3) "I'm not familiar with Portlandia."
Count me among the first group. Portlandia isn't perfect, but writing sketches is hard, and they knock out some banging sketches. Sometimes it generalizes Portland in ugly ways, but they're just trying to be funny. I would have to say my one criticism of the show is that they don't have a native Portlandian on the writing staff... well, I'm here to offer my services. Here's a list of sketch ideas that I think would go over great on the program.
• A graphic designer makes a fixed-gear bicycle out of pork belly. Portland vibrates violently and dematerializes.
• A local white becomes flummoxed.
• A radio disc jockey tries to sneak his own mandolin-based songs onto a Top-40 radio station. The microphone in the radio station is played by Randy Newman.
• The word "quinoa" is used in conversation an absurd amount of times.
• The Starlight Parade is picketed due to the inherent white privilege of a group of people being allowed to cavort drunkenly through public streets near police horses.
• A breakfast fiasco!
• A group of husbands get into an "I saw Radiohead first" measuring contest. Radiohead is played by Randy Newman.
• Something with Lake Bell in it at some point.
• A debate erupts at a waffle window. In question is the appropriate direction for a line to proceed after it has exceeded the width of the sidewalk. Fred and Carrie insist left, Randy Newman has other ideas.
• A man insists "ciabatta" is properly pronounced "see-ah-bash-eya." He cites the Chilean heritage of his adopted daughter for his authority and expertise. Nobody calls him on his bullshit.
• A couple make themselves destitute and penniless through their practice of "Incredibly Unfair Trade," where they pay indigenous workers WAY TOO MUCH money for their goods.
• A travel agency specializing in Costa Rica exists only to dissuade people from going to Costa Rica because "tourism is really super not great for the ecosystem there."
• An entire conversation takes place in ascending tones.
• LESBIANS. IN. ADOBES.
• Fred and Carrie open a fixed-gear popsicle stand. It is obnoxious.
• At a trivia night, two teams and a judge quibble over the correct pronunciation of author Chuck Palahniuk's last name. Chuck Palahniuk guest stars as Randy Newman.
• A man opens a confrontational "24 Hour Church of Chuck Berry, Ivory Joe Hunter, and James Brown" right across the street from the 24 Hour Church of Elvis.
• A woman tries to urban farm on a bus. It does NOT go well.
• Fred and Carrie run for mayor of Portland. Despite receiving Kyle MacLachlan's endorsement, they lose a narrow race to Randy Newman.