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10 Ways the World Has Basically Become Portlandia

Catch the new season of Portlandia Thursdays at 10P on IFC.

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Is it us, or have the oddballs, weirdoes and assorted dreamers and schemers of Portlandia started to seem a lot more mainstream lately? When the IFC series, masterminded by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, first premiered in 2011, no one could have guessed how omnipresent its world of mustache wax and artisanal knots would become. We laughed at these fringe weirdoes and their weird ways, and then one day we found that our mustache was in need of wax. Nothing would ever be the same.

As we approach the premiere of Portlandia‘s sixth season this Thursday, January 21st at 10P, we are starting to realize that the whole world has basically become a giant Portlandia sketch, and we’re just living in it. The food is good. The bike lanes are bountiful. And everything has a bird on it. (Or at least a bird emoji.) Here are just a few ways that Earth has become Planet Portlandia.


10. Singles Yoga

IFC Originals

IFC Originals

While aerobics classes may have been the singles bars of the ’80s, and 7-11 parking lots the singles bars of the ’90s, nowadays, if you’re really looking for a place to meet someone and you’re completely over Tinder, you head to your local yoga studio. In-between Pranayama breathing and downward dogging, you might notice that there are a lot of cute, single people writhing around in see through clothing. It’s like a nightclub, but instead of bottle service, there’s pregnancy meditation and cucumber water. Portlandia was one of the first to notice that inner peace might not be the only reason yoga studios find themselves so packed these days. There’s even Singles Speed Yoga, for those of us that are ready to skip the chakra alignment and just cut to the chase already.


9. Bike Lane Anarchy

IFC Originals

IFC Originals

As Portlandia so memorably pointed out, there have been militant bike riders for as long as there have been bikes. But as cities fight to go more green, and bike lanes become part of the everyday norm, these “cyclopaths” have started to multiply. With their weird clip-on shoes and smug attitudes, they love to tell us how they’re saving the world one bike ride at a time. Less pollution. Less traffic. And the thing that really annoys us is, they’re right. Now there’s even a real life Spike, doing his duty to take a stand against jerkwad cars getting in his bike lane.

Casey Neistat, a New Yorker and popular YouTuber who was ticketed for riding outside the bike lane, actually went to war with the city over cyclist rights. As you’ll see in the video below, Neistat’s assertion that “I’m doing the world a favor” could basically have come from the mind of Fred and Carrie.


8. No Spoilers!

Portlandia No Spoilers

IFC Originals

There is perhaps no greater threat to our modern way of life than the spoiler. There you are, minding you’re own business, when BOOM, someone blurts out that Haley Joel Osment sees dead Bruce Willises. (Oh, um, SPOILER ALERT?) You take a step back. Try to regroup. Pretend likes it’s not a big deal. The movie’s supposed to be good. It doesn’t really matter if you know the ending. But deep down, you can feel it. You’re life will never be the same.

Portlandia poked fun at our modern spoiler-averse culture with a perfect season three sketch that runs through spoilers for everything from Game of Thrones to Boy Meets World. But while most of us just go through life in a constant panic, ready to run at the first mention of Making A Murderer, someone out there has been doing the hard work of fixing this problem. That’s how Spoiler Shield came to be. With this iOS and Android app designed to block TV, movie and sport spoilers, you never have to worry about learning anything you don’t want to. Well, unless you leave your house. But why would you do that? You have so many shows to catch up on!


7. Putting Birds On Things

IFC Originals

IFC Originals

Putting birds on things helped put Portlandia on the map. But it also created a monster. No longer could birds be content to sit in their nests, or on power lines. Now they found themselves everywhere.

On toast.

imgur

imgur

On a shop.

Shop

Imgur

On a car.

imgur

imgur

On human skin.

Reddit

Reddit/Imgur

On LaMarcus Aldridge, former player for the Portlandia Trail Blazers.

Instagram

Instagram

Or on, er, um…

Bored Panda

Bored Panda

You get the point.


6. Artisanal Everything!

IFC Originals

IFC Originals

Portlandia loves all things artisanal, from light bulbs to movie theater popcorn, but even they would be hard-pressed to come up with what one Brooklyn bodega had to do when faced with an exorbitant rent increase. If you ask your typical hipster about gentrification, they’ll have a long, reasoned, possibly passionate take on the subject that highlights all of its evils, while conveniently leaving out that they live in an overpriced condo their parents outbid a local family of eight for. It’s a complicated issue. Just ask one bodega in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, who, facing a stiff rent increase, decided that pickling the heck out of something might be its last line of defense.

In an effort to raise cash fast, the store began labeling everything they sold as artisanal, and doubling the asking price. $15 for a “slow roasted” Five Hour Energy drink. $21.99 for a “pasture-raised flash-frozen teriyaki bowl.” Or just $24.97 for a one-of-a-kind Dickson’s Farms Condom.

 

The irony of having to use irony to afford living in a neighborhood overtaken by people who can only communicate through irony is, well, ironic. But, happily, the plan seems to have worked, as Jesse & Co. MarketPlace is still open for business.


5. Babysitters For Grownups

IFC Originals

IFC Originals

While adult babysitters sound like something you’d find in the Casual Encounters section of Craigslist, there’s actually a place to send your wayward spouse if they need a little looking after. Preschool Mastermind is a month long nursery school for grownups.

If you’re over the age of 18, and want to “re-learn the basics and experience the magic of life as it was originally intended,” this might be the place for you. Based, unsurprisingly, in Brooklyn, the school charges anywhere from $333 and $999 to help you get in touch with your inner child by playing games, conducting show-and-tell and having naptime. There’s also field trips and a class picture day. Although, were assuming every day is Instagram Day at this school.


4. Binge Watching

Battlestar Portlandia
We all remember when Fred and Carrie sunk into a Battlestar Galactica K-hole, forfeiting a functional life in a desperate attempt to find out who the Final Five Cylons really were. Since that episode aired in 2012, binge-watching has gone from a funny novelty to a cultural tidal wave. Like a fever dream, you start an episode of Jessica Jones or Todd Margaret and wake up in your own filth ten hours later, filled with regret and frozen pizza.

While Fred and Carrie may have been the first to point out our obsessive new way of watching TV, it didn’t take long for the world at large to catch-up. Collin’s Dictionary even named binge-watching the 2015 Word of the Year. We’re just impressed they got around to naming anything, considering they haven’t even watched Better Call Saul yet.


3. Kiddie Music Snobs

IFC Originals

IFC Originals

Portlandia loves to dissect the disturbing degrees to which parents involve themselves in their children’s lives. Whether it’s helping them collect signatures for an important cause, or getting them accepted in a preschool at any cost, Fred and Carrie have always had an eye on the competitive parenting culture we now live in. That was certainly true with their Shooting Star Preschool sketch, in which a parent/teacher meeting turns into a music snob-off. But honestly, should a woman who doesn’t know anything about Krautrock or Neu! really be teaching your kids?

The thing is, these Pitchfork-worshiping parents aren’t that far off from the truth. There’s a whole genre of music called Kindie Rock for the discerning parent who wants their kids to sport some serious musical opinions. Full of moody rockers, hot licks and mosh pits for kids, the only difference between Kindie and their Indie Rock big brother is that their songs are more about riding the bus to school, and less about casual sex and existential dread.

Two time Grammy Nominee Justin Roberts, who got his start in the cult band Pimentos for Gus, is one of the best of the batch, creating catchy hooks and clever lyrics that sound like pop/rock hits, but with the twist that they’re geared towards the 8-and-under crowd. Let’s be honest: Barney is for babies. You aren’t a baby, are you?


2. Dumpster Diving For Profit

IFC Originals

IFC Originals

Dumpster diving used to be, at best, a sort of weirdo activity that one guy from high school did to help pay for his heroin habit. But like nearly everything else in our society, dumpster diving has been monetized.

Matt Malone calls himself a professional dumpster diver. While he makes a six figure salary as a security consultant in Texas, he claims that his dumpster dives earn him even more money. Most days, on the way home from work, he’ll swing by a local mall, dig through the trash, and often pull out hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars worth of discarded technology. He claims that, if he did this full time, he could earn as much as $250,000 a year.

While Fred and Carrie may have found the dirty hippies who scavenged for old watermelons and stained baby dolls, Malone has other ideas when it comes to our garbage. Maybe it’s time we wise up, and stop throwing this stuff away.


1. Canoe Dancing

IFC Originals

IFC Originals

And then there are things that are just too ridiculous to exist in real life…

Alright, never mind. It’s a Portlandia world, and we’re all just living in it.

Want more Portlandia? Watch a free episode from the new season right now on IFC.com or on the IFC app.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

IFC_Comedy-Crib_Sisters-Weekend-Series-Image

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

SistersWeekend_101_MPX-1920x1080

IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

IFC_Comedy-Crib_Sisters-Weekend_About-Image

IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

SistersWeekend_102_MPX-1920x1080

IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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GIFs via Giphy

Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

via GIPHY

IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

via GIPHY

IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

E.coli-class-

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

ecoli-computer

IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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