You might not know this (and judging by the ratings, you don't), but IFC's ragtag sketch series "Portlandia," now in its second season, has become one of the laugh-out-loud funniest shows anywhere on TV. "Saturday Night Live" veteran Fred Armisen (never better than he is here) and indie-rock queen Carrie Brownstein (every bit Armisen's comedy equal) play a variety of characters as they lampoon the eco-friendly hipster culture of Portland, Oregon; it's like "The Kids in the Hall" and Andy Samberg's "SNL" digital shorts had a baby and raised it in a Whole Foods.
Anyway, we could talk all day about how great "Portlandia" is, but why not show you instead? In honor of this week's Season 2 finale (with guest star Tim Robbins!), we've collected the five funniest sketches Fred and Carrie have given us this season.
As hopeless TV junkies, we can definitely relate to this one. Fred and Carrie play a couple who finally decide to start watching the cult sci-fi hit "Battlestar Galactica"… and then get so addicted, they devour every episode in the series while the rest of their lives fall apart around them. Sure, this may be a little exaggerated, but who can't relate to spending a whole day watching a TV marathon? (Or two days, even? Three, max.)
With the buzz around it building, "Portlandia" roped in a healthy dose of guest stars this season, from Jeff Goldblum to Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. But the best was "Bridesmaids" star Kristen Wiig, joining her "SNL" castmate here as Gathy ("with a G"), a crazed fan of the cat-themed rock band Cat Nap. Gathy doesn't want to see her favorite band leave Portland, so naturally, she takes them hostage at gunpoint to ensure they don't go anywhere. (By the way, did you know Pink's real name is Barbara Jean?)
Around the World in 80 Plates
Fred and Carrie are the focus of most "Portlandia" sketches, but here, they take a backseat to the hilarious Kumail Nanjiani (who also played an annoying cell-phone salesman back in Season 1). Nanjiani plays a waiter at a chain restaurant who insists on walking a very hungry Fred and Carrie through every inch of the unique menu, from "slam burgers" to "cheese boats." And don't forget to "lobsterate" your meal!
Maybe this one is extra-funny if you're a dog owner, but anyone can recognize the uptight and overprotective doggy parents played by Fred and Carrie here. They bring their poor pooch to the dog park and quickly lay out some ground rules for the other owners that will make sure their dog doesn't have any fun whatsoever. And from now on, we'll be sure to avoid any dog whose lips are falling off.
"Portlandia" shoots entirely on location in Portland, using local actors as extras, and they stumbled upon a gem in Ellen Bloodworth, who stole scenes as an elderly library patron in Season 1. Here, Ellen's back as a kindly old babysitter who's hired by an exasperated wife to keep an eye on her layabout husband while she's gone. The give-and-take between Fred and Ellen here is hysterical; we're keeping our fingers crossed that we get to see more of Ellen in seasons to come.
The season finale of "Portlandia" airs Friday, 3/9 at 10 PM on IFC.