TV Party - Films

Portlandia: Season One {VSC}
Portland, for those who don’t know, has a rather significant if understated position among our Punk Rock cities. Over the years it has spawned such greatness as POISON IDEA, WIPERS, RESIST, EXPLODING HEARTS, EPOXIES and TRAGEDY among others. This DVD however, has nothing to do with the city’s illustrious Punk Rock credentials; instead it is a six-episode short-based comedy series - a Little Britain for the USA’s Northwest Pacific community if you will.
Each episode has a revolving cast of characters played by series creators Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. If that second name is familiar, it’s because she is also the vocalist/ guitarist in SLEATER-KINNEY and WILD FLAG, while the former is a cast member of Saturday Night Live. These characters include owners of a feminist bookshop, a farmer who is actually a cult leader, a couple of Crust Punks, a short-tempered cyclist, a couple who ‘put birds on things’ and various musicians and other odd characters.
Armisen and Brownstein are augmented by performances from the likes of Kyle MacLachlan (who appears on a regular basis as the Mayor of Portland [and in a couple of episodes, Portland's actual Mayor appears as an assistant to Kyle's fictional mayor]), Selma Blair, Heather Graham and Aimee Mann among others.
I’m not really into these short-based comedies. While I found the first episode intriguing and witty in a quirky way, my interest slowly faded as each successive episode aired. The transient quality of the sketches instilled a distance between viewer and character. Although a lot of the material was well written, For me, it would have faired better as an actual sitcom allowing the characters to develop in some kinda surreal otherworld.
The DVD is laden with extras including deleted scenes, extended scenes, a ‘blooper reel’, interviews and a commentary from both Armisen and Brownstein over all six episodes. More Fast Show than Frasier. (30.12.12.)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2012 including:
Terminal City Ricochet, The Widower