“Portlandia” is a television show on IFC staring comedians Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen. It first aired in Jan. 2011 and is now in its fourth season.


In the show, Brownstein and Armisen play a multitude of different characters in a series of skits that are both scripted and improvised. Set in Portland, Ore., the show plays on the eccentricity for which Portland is known. Most of the skits are nonsensical and are an exaggerated depiction of stereotypical Portlanders.


Portlandia Toni and Candace

Owners of Women and Women First Bookstore, Toni and Candace (fastcompany.com)

Some reoccurring characters include Toni and Candace, owners of a feminist bookstore called Women and Women First. In this skit, Armisen and Brownstein both play feminists who take whatever customers say to be anti-feminist. The hilarity ensues from their over-the-top portrayal of radical feminists who take everything a bit too seriously. Bryce and Lisa are artisan curators and another pair of characters  whose ideas range from putting a bird on everything to pickling whatever they can. The list of characters goes on to include dozens of quirky, outrageous, and hilarious characters that each have their own unique personalities (see more characters here).


What makes this show great is the connection and commitment Armisen and Brownstein give to each character, and in turn, the connection the audience has with them, as well. In an interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers, when asked about their focus on characters Brownstein replied, “we thought about the shows we love, we thought the reason we watch those shows was not because of where they take place, or the dramatic plot lines, but because there were characters that you were related to wholeheartedly or sort of reviled. So we each take up one of those characters.” The characters in the show are wildly creative, peculiar, and unpredictable, so viewers never know what to expect.


“Portlandia” is shot on location in various parts of Portland, which adds to the originality of the show. In an interview on David Letterman, Brownstein expressed how “Portlandia” is a “love letter to Portland,” that both Portlanders and non-Portlanders can enjoy for its hilarious antics and plot lines.


Make sure to check out “Portlandia” Thursdays at 10/9C on IFC, or you can catch up on the first three seasons on Netflix!


Tell me what you think of “Portlandia.” Share your favorite characters in the comments below or tweet me @whatsthesich.