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Portlandia: Season 2

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No word describes this series more accurately than "Ouch."  As in, "Ouch, I can't believe that this humor is so accurately skewering my way of life."  I don't know if this is because I live in Minneapolis, a near analog of Portland in terms of hip, urban, bike-friendly, and currently ascendent mid-size city, or if this is just a function of 30-somethings living in American Cities right now.  Either way, I've never had a comedy show feel quite as aimed at me.  This is the feeling that others have described about shows like Seinfeld and Friends.  I finally get it (though I still don't like those other shows much).

Season 2 differs from season 1 in two big ways.  First of all, the show has clearly gotten attention, as there are a ridiculous number of cameos.  We noticed a bunch: Jeff Goldblum, Eddie Vedder, Greg Louganis, and Isaac Brock among others, and I'm sure there are many more that we missed.  Sometimes, the celebrity is recognized and worked into the plot, and other times the celeb just plays a bit part, but it never feels forced, like that one time that Troy Aikman showed up on Coach

The other defining piece of season 2 is an embracing of surreality.  Season 1 is finely honed satire, but I don't recall surreality ever breaking the bounds of satire.  That changes in season 2.  The show is treading on thin ice, as surreality can sometimes fail horribly, as Family Guy often proves.  But its done lightly and infrequently enough here, usually as a scene end or an interstitial short.  It works well.

If you're reading the blog, you should see this series.  If nothing else, you can make fun of me.

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