“Portlandia,” A.K.A. After Portland was all Aging Hippies and Murderous Lumberjacks

by Katy on February 19, 2011 · 12 comments

I am one of those rare Portlanders that actually grew up in Portland. (Sure, from 1985 – 1995 I lived in Israel, Ohio, Chicago, Idaho, London, New York and New Mexico, but I did move back.) So I remember when Portland was just another mid-size West coast city, before it transformed into the eco-groovy Mecca seen today. I know I’m late to the party here, but I can no longer not write about Portlandia, the IFC comedy that’s helping to cement Portland’s reputation as a town full of anti-establishment hemp-hugging hipsters.

For those not in the know, Portlandia is the brainchild of SNL’s Fred Armisen and Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein, and is comprised of individual skits mocking Portland’s tendency to be the place where “young people come to retire.” Being a cable-free gal, I’ve only been able to watch short clips on HULU, but they’ve made me laugh harder than a hyena at a Three Stooges festival. The show recently received the go ahead for a second season, which tells me that poking fun at Portlanders must have legs even outside our eco-certified city limits. Then again, this show kind of writes itself. Where else can green living/backyard chicken/frugality bloggers also get arrested for a string of bank robberies?

You can’t make that stuff up.

Click HERE to read my friend Shannon Wheeler’s take on Portlandia that he wrote for The New Yorker blog.

Click HERE to watch a clip of the hilarious Matt Braunger, (for whom I used to babysit) joke about growing up in Portland when everyone was an “aging hippie or a murderous lumberjack.”

And here’s a must watch clip for all the rest of you too cheap to get cable TV:

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Miss Roman Apartment February 19, 2011 at 11:53 am

The last time I was in Portland, I was test-riding a bike, and got yelled at on the street for not wearing a helmet by a guy dressed like Gandalf The Gray.

You should put a bird on this blog, Katy.


Sara Wolk February 19, 2011 at 12:36 pm

So, Im ashamed to say this, but that Gandalf figure, that was Katy’s and my father. Sorry.


Marianne February 20, 2011 at 9:19 am



PigPennies February 19, 2011 at 11:56 am

I was just in Portland for a wedding, and mentioned Portlandia in my post this morning! I could quote this show for the rest of my life and crack up every time. The local people at my table found the show less amusing than I did. But come on, if you can’t make fun of yourself, who can you make fun of?!

Love Portland, and love your blog 🙂


Jessica Wolk-Stanley February 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Here’s a link to the story that recently aired on NPR’s Morning Edition. It made Portland sound like a city entirely populated by over-educated Hard Rock slackers. I cringed because that part, at least, made Portland sound unbearable, and I do want to move back someday.



Kathy Blume February 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Oh my god! Finally, a show I can relate to!


Sue February 20, 2011 at 5:29 am



Tracy Balazy February 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm

THAT’s funny! I’ll have to catch a whole episode!


Rachael February 22, 2011 at 4:08 am

Thanks so much for the news that “Portlandia” was renewed! I didn’t know that and was hoping it would be. I am obsessed with “Portlandia”. I’ve watched every episode so far. The first two were the best, I think. I have re-watched my favorite clips more times than I can count: the two from “Women and Women First”, the “Sherlock Homies”, the “Colin” restaurant clip. I’m so glad you appreciate it, Katy, as I thought I was the only one who thought the humor is incredible. I laugh so hard even after seeing the clips multiple times. Even my husband admitted he really likes the “Dream of the Nineties” song and clip which is among my favorites as well. We live in N.J. but vacation in Portland every year. I do not understand how some Portlanders don’t think it is wonderful. As N.J. residents, we are frequently the object of humorists, and we just laugh along. As I once heard, being able to laugh at yourself, your environment, where you are currently planted in life–whether or not you agree with all of it–is a sign of a healthy person. Thanks again for commenting on the show. I also LOVE the opening instrumental bit which shows some local people and scenes from Portland.


Britta February 25, 2011 at 8:35 am

I will have to look this up on Hulu! Thanks!

(laughed so hard at the final scene of the clip above)


lynda February 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Was that Agent Cooper???!


Katy February 26, 2011 at 11:25 am

Long live “Twin Peaks!”



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