DID YOU READ

Spoofing the spoofers: Five YouTube tributes to “Portlandia”

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In one season, “Portlandia” created catchphrases and viral videos potent enough to nearly kill off an artistic cliché. If that’s not evidence enough of the show’s impact, just look on YouTube. Sure, searching “Portlandia + parody” won’t yield as many results as, say, “dog with eyebrows”—and really, what can compete with that juggernaut?—but if you’re measuring quality over quantity, Fred and Carrie have inspired some top-shelf spoofs. With Season 2 debuting this Friday night, we can only imagine what hobbies will be threatened by the popularity of certain sketches (pickling, your days are numbered), but for now, here’s an assemblage of just a few of the ways “Portlandia” influenced the zeitgeist last year.

The Dream of the Suburbs

Portland might represent a very specific kind of youth culture, but the suburbs are always the suburbs. About two weeks ago, this clip by filmmaker Brighton West—which uses “The Dream of the ’90s” to lampoon Portland’s northernly neighbor, Vancouver, Washington—enjoyed a “Meme of the Day” moment in local media. Making fun of Vancouver is a favorite pastime of elitist Portlanders, but according to West—who lives in Portland—the jabs about dads wearing Old Navy, eating at Applebee’s and never having to make chit-chat with your neighbors were crowd-sourced for accuracy among actual Vancouverians (and while anyone who’s ever visited a Wal-Mart anywhere in America will get the jokes, there’s at least one gag specific to the humble Couve, involving the much-debated Columbia River Crossing). It’s pretty much spot-on satire, not just of the cross-bridge rivalry but of the sketch that inspired the spoof. Only inaccuracy: The dude playing Fred Armisen looks more like Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement. Eh, we’ll let it slide.


One Night in Portlandia

Something you might not know: “Portlandia” takes its name from a statue located downtown, depicting the trident-wielding woman found on the city seal. It is the second-largest copper reppouse statue in the country, behind the Statue of Liberty (thanks, Wikipedia!). And here’s a factoid not even native Portlanders were probably aware of: Portlandia is kind of a slut. Upset over having her name co-opted by a cable sketch comedy show, she apparently leaked a sex tape in an ill-advised attempt to steal back some of her fame. Filmmaker Mike Vogel went out and recorded reactions from other local statues, including the fountain beavers near Pioneer Place, who are much cattier than you’d imagine.


Milktooth Tour America

Milktooth is an indie rock band from Tennessee, but when a band’s on the road, they’re really no less a tourist than the guy standing on the downtown street corner in Bermuda shorts confusedly reading a bus schedule. As such, after reconstructing the “Portlandia” opening—complete with the theme song, Washed Out’s “Feel It All Around”—they do one of the top three most touristy things any Portland visitor can do: Go to Voodoo Doughnuts and marvel at the bacon maple bar.


Ken Finds Birds

As one might guess from the title, a graduate student named Ken went to Portland expecting to find birds in every tree and on every tote bag, mug, hat and bicycle helmet. He is shocked to find that birds are not quite as plentiful as “Portlandia” led him to believe. He does leave with a nice shirt, though.

Watch the video here.


Put a Bird on It (All the Seagull Ladies)

You’ve probably already seen this, but it bears re-posting. Two girls, one Beyonce parody, and a whole lot of blank canvasses on which to apply birds.

 

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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