When Portlandia debuted on IFC last year, expectations weren’t just low, they were practically non-existent. But it wasn’t long before Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein made it abundantly clear that they had stumbled into a rare groove, effortlessly riffing off each other’s deadpan sensibilities as they lovingly mocked the precious hipster cultures from which both performers sprung. The result was an addictive sketch comedy delight. (Everyone has their favorite Portlandia sketch from Season 1. Mine is “Buying An Emergency Cell Phone,” which features some brilliant improvisation from Kumail Nanjiani.)
The hype has been heavy in anticipation of this Friday’s Season 2 premiere. After several teased sketches from the upcoming season -- including Fred and Carrie’s crackhouse-like immersion into the Battlestar Galactica universe -- an entire new episode has been released online. (It's not the premiere, which is called "Mixology," but "One Moore Episode," the full version of the aforementioned BSG-themed installment. We've embedded the full video below.) And it’s good news! The magic is still there. Here’s a rundown of some of the sketches:
The episode begins with the ambitious “Portland Allergy Pride Parade,” where the stars play local news anchors offering color commentary on such floats as the “Wheatless Wheelers” and “The Soi! Punks.” The sketch encapsulates everything goofy and fun about Portlandia, with its soft skewering of high-maintenance eaters.
A higher profile means bigger guest stars, so say hello to Jeff Goldblum, looking positively adorable in a pink blazer and mauve bowtie as the proprietor of “The Artisan Knot,” a store that sells, uh, knots. Goldblum is just the perfect amount of weird to sell this kind of premise, as evidenced by that extended purring sound he makes while describing a clotted pair of iPod earbuds. Inspired.
“Fire Pit” has Fred and Carrie playing an older couple enjoying a new outdoor fireplace, interspersed with footage of some kind of Satanic ritual being performed around it. A palate cleanser.
The best, and weirdest, sketch picks up where “Battlestar” left off, with the addicted couple going off in search of Ronald D. Moore, the series creator, in the hopes that he will write them another episode. They find a Portland-based Ronald D. Moore, only this Ronald D. Moore is an elderly African-American man with a grumpy wife. You’d think the sketch ends there, but this is Portlandia, where weirdness and hilarity blossom.
That’s followed by "Eddie Vedder Tattoo," in which Carrie describes her romance with a guy who is just about perfect, except for a tattoo on his arm of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder holding two tambourines. No matter what she does, she can’t get past the tattoo. Both of these sketches end with some great celebrity cameos. No spoilers! (But you can probably guess.)
If the rest of the season is as good as “One Moore Episode,” we’re in for another treat. Thank god for Portlandia. It restores your faith in a world that can also produce something like Work It.