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portlandia, season finale

For once, a new show I watch has been renewed, so I don’t have to write “series finale” in the title.

The humor in Portlandia is gentle … you can tell the people making the show feel an affinity for the people they are making fun of. The list of guest stars is eclectic in an indie-rock way: Kyle MacLachlan, Sarah McLachlan (I never realized they spelled their names differently), Aimee Mann, Edie McClurg, Corin Tucker, Heather Graham. Honestly, I don’t laugh that often when I watch Portlandia … it’s not 30 Rock. But the show has a certain charm that makes laugh-out-loud hilarity less necessary than is usual for a comedy.

Of course, I wouldn’t have watched even one episode if Carrie Brownstein wasn’t in it. Happily, she is one of the best things about the show. She and Fred Armisen play dozens of characters, and they hold nothing back. And when Carrie smiles … well, she’s got a big smile, and if, like me, you already think of her as the Adorable Queen, that smile makes up for a lot.

Portlandia isn’t a great show, and I’m not sure how broad its audience will ever be. Anyone who lives in a place like Portland will appreciate this show, but others might just scratch their heads. I’m glad IFC found a place for it, and I’m glad they renewed it. Sometimes gentle humor is just right. B+.

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