i started reviewing portlandia for tell tale tv after the first episode aired for its seventh season. i don’t like having things unfinished, so i am writing my review for season 7 episode 1 here and then linking the rest of the season’s episodes.
portlandia is a consistently funny sketch comedy show—much more consistently funny than snl, in my opinion. fred armisen has solidified a place in my heart as one of my favorite comedians, sketch or otherwise. carrie brownstein is super versatile and can act the shit out of any role; male, female, or non-binary.
the sketches are topical and quirky, and there are a ton of cool guest stars like steve buscemi and kyle maclachlan. there are recurring characters that you can’t help but fall in love with like nina and lance, and toni and candace. armisen and brownstein both have musical backgrounds, so indie music is often a subject or used to enhance sketches.
here is my review for portlandia: 7.1 “the storytellers:”
portlandia’s penultimate season starts off with a strong episode with one of the best guest stars of the season, claire danes. she plays an acting coach that helps fred and carrie become better storytellers. they need a lot of work in this department. “what was that abortion story?”
the process of excavating and creating an atmosphere in order to tell a simple story at a party is taken outlandishly too far, and that is what makes so many portlandia sketches so great. this one is a perfect example.
another example is the skit with snl’s vanessa bayer. the hotel concierge takes customer service to an astronomically annoying level, and then later the weird room service waiter adds to it. why is everything individually wrapped? in the end she does the only logical thing and jumps out of the window.
the goths are recurring characters that i always love to see. they would probably hate this, but i think they are just delightful. seeing them navigate bed, bath, and beyond (with the help of jamie) is something i didn’t know i needed.
commercials for non-existent products and services are another strong aspect to portlandia. on “storytellers” we get germy, a child’s toy made of beard hair and germs to strengthen kids’ immune systems. naturally, this is gross, and the little sub-plot romance between the mom in the ad (natasha lyonne) and the doctor (mitchell hurwitz) makes for the quirky spoof at which portlandia is so adept.
all in all, “storytellers” is a great kick-off to the season.
here are links to my reviews of the rest of season 7 with some quick thoughts:
7.2 “carrie dates a hunk”
-introduces meninists andy and drew who became some of my favorites characters this season.
-“the hunks are taking over again. i’ve seen it with my own eyes. my own four eyes, if you know what I mean.” brilliant.
7.3 “fred’s cell phone company”
-lance and nina’s first season 7 appearance.
7.4 “separation anxiety”
-a bit of a bummer since toni and candace are some of my favorites, but there is this line: “oh, i can crack any nut. once i crack that nut, i smash it. i turn it into nut butter.”
-rachel dratch and veep’s sam richardson are fantastic guest stars.
7.6 “friend replacement”
-laurie metcalf steals the show.
7.7 “portland secedes”
-mr. mayor! i wish this main plot was executed a little better.
7.9 “passenger rating”
-steve buscemi directs!
7.10 “misunderstood miracles”
-the season finale is ok. the main sketch is strange, but the rest is pure portlandia fun.
read my review of the rad portlandia cookbook here.