As we're already into Season Three of the IFC hit series "Portlandia," I'll just let you know what comes with the DVD release before I speak about the show itself. Most likely, you are already familiar with the idea behind the Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen sketch show, so this will save you some time if you are only interested in whether or not the DVD/Blu-ray are worth the investment.
The two disc set features the ten regular episodes of Season Three plus the Winter Special that aired a few weeks before the season began properly on IFC. In essence, therefore, there are eleven self-contained shows for approximately 4 hours of programming in total.
Included on DVD/Blu-ray:
Winter Special: Winter in Portlandia
Regular episodes: (1) Take Back MTV, (2) Missionaries, (3) Nina's Birthday, (4) Squiggleman, (5) Off the Grid, (6) The Temp, (7) Soft Opening, (8) Alexandra, (9) No-Fo-O-Fo-Bridge and (10) Blackout
Bonus Features: 2 Deleted Scenes and tours of Portland with recurring guest star and comedian Kumail Nanjiani.
"Portlandia," first and foremost, starts with a fantastic idea. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein have created a comedy that speaks to a very specific portion of the population. In a perfect recreation of indie hipster angst, the show skewers a world in which people are consumed by political correctness. The beauty of "Portlandia" is that it both embraces the self-importance, superiority, and silliness of this extreme sect while poking gentle fun with it. It really is spot-on in showcasing this dichotomy and Portland stands as an ideal muse for illustrating this too cool for school mentality. The self-aware characters (Armisen and Browstein play a stable of recurring bits) are so proper, in fact, they are often undone by trying to be idealized models of this elevated consciousness. It's an inspired idea! And when it works, it hits very real highs. People relate to the show because they are or know people exactly like the ones represented. After three seasons, I've found much of "Portlandia" hilarious. Truthfully, though, not every bit works and/or some carry on a beat too long for my personal taste.
The show, itself, has always attracted a fair share of interesting guest stars. Among those with recurring roles, Kyle MacLachlan still slays me as the mayor while Jeff Goldblum and Kumail Nanjiani reprise their earlier appearances. A big addition for Season Three, Oscar nominee Chloe Sevigny pops up as a new roommate for Fred and Carrie. Just what they needed! In addition, the season boasts cameos by Juliette Lewis, Patton Oswalt, No Doubt, Martina Navratilova, George Wendt, Rose Byrne, Matt Lucas, Jim Gaffigan, and Roseanne Barr among other familiar faces. Part of the appeal, for me, is to see who might pop up and you know everyone is just having a grand old time hanging out. Just like the spirit of Portland. Here's the deal, though. If you liked the earlier seasons, this is more to enjoy. If the show doesn't speak to you, nothing here will change your mind. I was more than happy to spend another season with the eccentrics of "Portlandia." KGHarris, 7/13.