Fred Armisen, one of the stars of the IFC channel’s show, didn’t stop filming when I showed up so he could greet me. He also didn’t badger me about a free Don’t Do Stupid Stuff mug.
Fred, you know you have to cough up a sawbuck, just like everybody else!
• • •
If you’ve never seen “Portlandia,” it really is a way cool depiction of Portland at its finest. And like most quality humor, there is enough truth in the genesis of its skits that it feels marginally plausible.
The show actually originated as comedy sketches on the internet in 2005. Those sketches were then pitched as a comedy show, and in 2011, they hit your TV screen.
The producers have always been pretty tight-lipped about details of their upcoming episodes, but graffiti they used on a couple of walls Thursday might give us a clue.
One sign read, “Rip Off City.” Portland Trail Blazers fans — of course — know the Rip City logo. It was a line used by a Blazers announcer and embraced by the team, so much so that you can often see them wear Rip City uniforms.
The other read, “Keep Portland Weird,” with the word Weird crossed out and replaced by the word Gentrified.
When you look at Portland through a Vancouver lens, there are many residents who feel like the city is a rip-off. Most everything is higher priced there, especially housing. It’s not unusual to have Portland families move here to get a bigger bang for their buck.
And as far as the “Keep Portland Weird” motto? Hey, I like it. I mean, “Keep Portland Like White Bread” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. And I suspect those T-shirt sales wouldn’t be as robust.
But, again, there are those in Vancouver who like the gentrified look and feel of Vancouver. Most of us have middle-class values and middle-class tastes. And we like the conformity that exists in our middle-class neighborhoods.
I’m not there yet. I like being a little on the odd side. For example, much of my lawn is — how do I say this? — natural. I find beauty in the brown, and why do so many of us have so much against weeds?
Weeds got rights, too!
• • •
My sense is, it’s easy for Portland residents to laugh at themselves. They’re comfortable in their own skins. So when “Portlandia” emphasizes their weirdness, they’re good with it.
Armisen and his co-star, Carrie Brownstein, are comic superstars who capture Portland perfectly. They also write for the show. And that cocktail mix of talent is priceless.
• • •
By day’s end on Thursday, you would never even have known “Portlandia” had been in town. The actors were long gone, the support crew and equipment vanished. And those quite-cool graffiti signs? Whitewashed off the walls.
But the show goes on. The real-life one, I mean. Right across the river.
See you this weekend. Stay weird.