By Michal Shvimer
Just about every college student is in the market for a new show. Streaming services simply can’t keep up with our consumption demand. We’ve been breezing through one-seasoners that Netflix puts out just to keep us occupied for a week at a time.
But we need something consistent, yet something that doesn’t take up all of our time and energy. The TV equivalent of a friend with benefits, rather than a one night stand or a long-term relationship.
Well, look no further. Portlandia is that TV show. The absurdist series hit the screen in 2011 and just finished its seven-year run in 2018. Luckily, it is very streamable and bingeable on Netflix. Since it’s a sketch show, there’s no continuous plot — instead, there are repeating characters, all of whom are lovable, relatable and absolutely kooky.
If you watch the show, you may already have an answer. But if you don’t, these characters will give you just another reason to pick it up. Which Portland local are you?
Carrie and Fred
These two besties are as classic as Portland itself. They hang out at the local coffee shop, have a close connection with the city’s mayor and are the essence of the show’s very own creators: Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen.
Carrie and Fred always find themselves in the nuttiest adventures — whether it’s putting together Portland’s MLB league or going across the West Coast for a cute bartender, their spontaneity and wit always shines through. Carrie tends to go with the flow, but Fred has a bit of a shorter fuse. Sound like any dynamic duo you know?
Candace and Toni
These two self-righteous queenz co-own the feminist bookstore “Women and Women First.” Sign me up as a regular customer. Toni and Candace are best friends but also educators, lovers, advocates and healers, as I’m sure they’ll tell you themselves. Oh, and did I mention Armisen cross-dresses to play Candace?
“Women and Women First” is always on the prowl for uneducated neoliberals to put in their place, even if they didn’t ask for it. Attend the free journaling classes offered at their bookstore, but don’t forget to come with a body-positive, queer-friendly and self-empowering journal entry. If it’s good enough, you just might sync cycles with the gals!
Nina and Lance
Who can forget Portland’s cutest genderbending couple? Not me! Armisen and Brownstein both cross-dress to play Nina and Lance, respectively, a couple that has their own problems, but always finds a way to work them out. Usually, through sex.
In a way, Nina and Lance teach Portlandia’s audience how to practice sex positivity. Of course, I’m referring to the infamous sketch when Nina and Lance develop a safe word to use when things start to get a little rough.
Nina started to overuse the safe word, “cacao,” but in the end, was able to say “cacao” to cacao. If that didn’t make any sense, I suggest you slow your roll — cacao. If you and your significant other are the experimental type, I say you’ve found your match in Nina and Lance.
Can’t pick a character to identify with? Don’t worry — no true Portlander would ever throw themselves in a box like that.