Thursday, February 3, 2011

Oh, Portlandia!

So maybe you've seen the new show from IFC about Portland or maybe you haven't. The show is definitely amusing and does a great job at focusing on some of the things that make Portland, well, Portland. Too bad that it takes some of the stunts that were initially funny way too far making it almost ludicrous. Maybe that's the point, I don't really know. I'm not a comedy critic.

Here's what I do know from the two episodes that I have seen:

- Yes, there does seem to be birds on everything. It's kind of crazy. At first, I thought it was cool and kind of hip and wondered when a designer like Kate Spade might pick up the idea and add it to stationery. I don't think she's going to be picking it up anytime soon as the bird motif might soon jump the shark. That said, birds are definitely Portland.

- Chicken from the farm. In the first show the hippie commune was a bit ridiculous. What was entirely missed was how truly amazing the food is here in Portland and part of what makes it great are all the local ingredients. The waitress having the patience to explain the chicken's pedigree is not far off. Though no one would bring you a dossier about a chicken, but they would be able to speak to the freshness of the local ingredients used.

- Let's not forget the bikes. Portland is a huge biking town. I, myself, am still trying to learn how to ride a bike. Perhaps when it gets a little warmer I'll practice more and finally get the hang of it. Bikers are everywhere. Sometimes they do drive a bit recklessly where they shouldn't. That said, there are tons of bike-dedicated roads and in those areas drivers and bikers seem to co-exist pretty well. Oh and if you're trying to ride a bike between a dumpster and a wall you probably have bigger challenges to overcome. I'm just sayin'.

- The chatty bookstore owners. Despite the behemoth bookstore and annexes that are Powell's - a truly fabulous bookstore (Think: The Strand, but with coffee, newer books, a lot bigger, and tons of recommendations.) - there are lots of off beat bookstores dedicated to a particular theme: Mysteries, for example. The point here is not the unique bookstores. The point is the chatty folks who work at the bookstore. First of all, they typically aren't that obnoxious. Generally, people who work at stores are pretty friendly and seem genuinely interested in talking with you while ringing up your items or helping you locate something. Last night, I went to the supermarket and they noticed they had a coupon for something I bought and they swiped it anyway, saving me a $1. I know it sounds silly and a little old lady coupon clipping, but it was actually nice. It's small town in the way that a neighborhood in New York feels small town.

I do genuinely look forward to seeing more episodes of Portlandia. It's true Portland is a unique town and they are pointing out some entertaining things about the city. My favorite part about the show is the video below created to promote it. Here's one of my favorite lines in the song: "Where people in their 20s come to retire."

Give a listen and let me know what line speaks to you.

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