I found this article in the Sunday New York Times about the upcoming IFC show “Portlandia”. The show is not only proving to be one that the media is interested in covering (it’s been in Entertainment Weekly and many local pubs) but it’s managed to stir up some interesting debate.
Recently IFC smartly put this video up on YouTube from the show. “The Dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland” on the surface seems to make fun of a lot of unique things that exist in Portland. It’s clearly a satire but there is a hint of truth in the video. After watching it several times I do wonder; what was so wrong with the dream of the 90’s? I might be suffering from nostalgia but the 90’s were a pretty good decade in my opinion. That’s for another discussion but I’m just sayin’!
Some feel that this show is going to negatively portray our city and state and thus hurt the local economy (I’ve actually heard that concern voiced). I don’t see it. What’s wrong with a little satire now and then? I don’t think satirical movies or TV shows have hurt other places like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or even all of Canada. I think it’s good to be in the company of those places. My recommendation to everyone is that we use this show to our advantage. In a few weeks Oregon Film will be in New York as a sponsor of the NYC premiere of the show. The event will give us the chance to reach out to a market we rarely get to visit and hopefully bring more projects to our state. Also at the event will be the local band “The Thermals” and custom “Portlandia” bottles made by local brewery Rogue Ales will be served at the party. Stumptown coffee went out as a part of the press kit nationally. All day on January 19 in Mid-Town Manhattan there will be the word “Portlandia” on the marquee of the Edison Ballroom. None of this exposure would have happened without this show. Seems like pretty good free publicity to me.
In a later episode Fred and Carrie are hired by the mayor of Portland (played by Kyle Maclachlan) to write a song about Portland. Here’s a link to the song. At the film office, we often sing the praises of shows like “Leverage” that bring jobs and revenue for local small businesses. That is the most important thing that film and television projects do for our state. “Portlandia” has done that albeit in a smaller scale than a project like “Leverage”. But the show has also brought exposure which also has value. Yes, some will feel that they are being made fun of and some will think this show is “bad for business”, but if you watch and listen to “Portlandia”, you’re likely to find an appealing love letter in between the satire. What’s wrong with that?