Dream Of The Nineties

Carrie Brownstein for “Portlandia”I’ve been listening to Sleater-Kinney’s albums for well over a decade, but I can’t say I ever imagined that the band’s singer/guitarist, Carrie Brownstein, would transition into sketch comedy… not that S-K were all super-serious and downbeat or anything… but they weren’t exactly The Monkees either! As a child of the 90s, I’m a sucker for the slacker/hippie shenanigans that her Peabody Award–winning series Portlandia (co-created with Fred Armisen) frequently sends up… and I often think I could live quite happily in their exaggerated version of Portland, Oregon, with all those artistic, creative people taking naps and worrying about the environment. Sigh…

Anyhoo, the third season of came to a close last week, and while there were several very funny sketches, and some interesting developments in terms of a serialised story structure, I felt it was a little weaker than its predecessors. That’s probably because I’m coming at the show as a music fan as well as a comedy fan, and their just weren’t as many songs this time around.

Carrie Brownstein for “Portlandia”Consequently, my fave ep of all time has to be “Cat Nap” (#2.6), which includes the awesome ‘Two Girls, Two Shirts’, co-starring Miranda July as the brains behind an extremely niche boutique store, with its own catchy jingle… then there’s the title sketch in which an unsigned band cajole their pet cat into jamming with them, before finding fame and attracting a crazy stalker played by  Kristen Wiig… and then there’s ‘Jewelry by Meghan’, featuring the funnest song about home-made jewellery you’re ever likely to hear! Just watching Carrie sing to the camera is a joy in itself… she has so much natural charisma and stage/screen presence, I’m not surprised she needed another outlet for it! Oh, and there’s also a cameo by Amber Tamblyn as a student intern at the “Women and Women First” feminist bookstore. What more could you want, dammit?

On second thoughts, I don’t see how they could ever top that episode, so it’s probably unfair to even use it as a yardstick. I should just be grateful Carrie’s on TV so regularly, while still rocking out with her new(ish) band Wild Flag.

About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action. He/him.
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2 Responses to Dream Of The Nineties

  1. phantomxii says:

    I totally failed to make the connection between S-K and Portlandia! I certainly am up on my hipster bands. Ahem.

    • deecrowseer says:

      It took me a while to make the connection too. I hadn’t seen many photos or videos of S-K, so I didn’t recognise Carrie in the ads for “Portlandia”, and blanked it for the first season. Tch!

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