Handlebar mustaches, messenger bags and bird silhouettes glued onto everything sound like all the trappings of an Urban Outfitters coffee table book or the latest installment of LATFH.com. But instead of a blog about D.I.Y. head cozies or instructions on how to live a freegan existence, IFC has turned it all into another series of mundane sketches making fun of everyone’s least-favorite, unicycle-pedaling, freeloading cultural stereotype: the hipster.
That’s the premise of Portlandia, a show created by Fred Armisen of Saturday Night Live fame and indie darling Carrie Brownstein. The show, which is already available to view online at ifc.com, is set to premiere on television Friday, Jan. 21 at 10:30 p.m. on IFC.
It all starts off with a musical sequence starring Armisen and Brownstein, who is best known as a guitarist for Sleater-Kinney and the writer of the tune about how “the dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland.”
With blunt-cut bangs and a flannel shirt, she mocks fixed-gear bikes and girls in glasses in the opening musical sequence, beginning the show on a slightly ridiculous note as she and Armisen are followed around Portland’s waterfront by an ensemble of clowns and bearded fellows.
The rest of the show consists of a series of skits that include a technology addiction gone wrong, an adult hide-and-seek competition and obnoxious slow food restaurant-goers. And while all these seem like great ways to make fun of the hipper-than-thou set, after the 2000th joke about giant microgreens, it starts to get old.
It’s not like jokes about how hip, alternative kids wear sock hats and eat vegan breakfast cupcakes are anything new. After all, it’s pretty doubtful people need visual Cliff Notes of field guides like Hipster Haiku orStreet Boners: 1,764 Hipster Fashion Jokes, which were around even before the hobo chic look became trendy again.
It wasn’t all bad, though, as there were a few moments that elicited more snickers than eye-rolls. One such skit was about a feminist bookstore where Brownstein and Armisen, both sporting long, scraggly locks that would make Dimebag Darrell jealous, try to guilt Steve Buscemi, of cult classics such as Ghost World and The Big Lebowski, into buying something. Buscemi completely steals the show as he’s goaded into buying a coffee cozy just because he needs to use the bathroom, charming the audience with his signature anxious and awkward act.
All in all, the show was pretty unimpressive, though there were some moments where guest stars and interesting characters proved entertaining. Otherwise, Portlandia is yet another spoof on people who were amusing to make fun of three years ago. So take note IFC, if you’re going to make fun of those kids who refresh their Tumblr every two milliseconds, you may want to stay current yourself.