music friday
#17: l’avventura (michelangelo antonioni, 1960)

portlandia, season two premiere

There is an ongoing discussion amongst some TV critics and showrunners about the value of weekly series updates. I don’t have an opinion, but actions speak louder than, and the fact is, I don’t often write about specific episodes of a series. I’ll do the premiere and the finale of each season, and that’s about it. It’s too hard to avoid spoilers in weekly wrap-ups, plus I’m too lazy to crank them out on a regular basis.

Portlandia offers an excellent example of why I don’t need to do weekly updates. On its series premiere last January, I wrote, “I liked it. It was kinda cute, and I don’t usually do cute, but it was cute with barbs. … low-key but smart comedy, Carrie Brownstein … what’s not to like?” After the season finale, I wrote, “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. … [Carrie] is one of the best things about the show.”

Now the second season is here, and everything I said last year could be repeated yet again. It’s low-key, it goes a long way on the charm of its stars, I’m a sucker for Carrie Brownstein, and I’ll be watching again this season. Last year I gave it a B+, and I can’t imagine I’ll end up too far from that evaluation when Season Two is over.

I will note one thing Brownstein said in a recent interview, because it reflects something of my own take on the show:

I don’t need people to think it’s funny. … It’s fine if people don’t laugh. There’s a lot of stuff I watch, like the Louis C.K. show, and I never laugh out loud. It’s an interesting show. So I don’t need to be judged by “Did this make me laugh?”

I rarely laugh at Portlandia. But I enjoy watching it.


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