(Four acres.) The waitress excuses herself and returns to the table with a file folder and a photograph.
“Here is the chicken you’ll be enjoying tonight,” she says, with therapeutic solemnity.
She yelps and shouts, and hiccups just like Joey Ramone.
The first time that we sat down to talk, at a restaurant in Portland’s loft-filled Pearl District, she said, “I’ve never understood people who play up the artifice of music. It took me outside of anything I’d ever done.” She had been an isolated teen-ager, and punk was “a salvation,” she said.
“You can never underestimate that moment of somebody explaining your life to you, something you thought was inexplicable, through music.
(The real Portland’s mayor, Sam Adams, who is openly gay, plays Mac Lachlan’s assistant on the show.) Armisen and Brownstein, wearing anthropologically precise wigs and outfits, portray most of the main characters: bicycle-rights activists, dumpster divers, campaigners against any theoretical attempt to bring the Olympics to Portland, animal lovers so out of touch that they free a pet dog tied up outside a restaurant. ”) Many characters recur, and, because they often seem to know one another, their intersections from sketch to sketch give the show the feel of a grownup “Sesame Street.” This childlike vibe has an edge to it, however; as an Armisen character explains at one point, Portland is “where young people go to retire.”Armisen, who is forty-five, is a seasoned comic actor who has been in the cast of “Saturday Night Live” since 2002, but Brownstein’s involvement in “Portlandia” is surprising.
She had never done comedy before collaborating with Armisen, and, in many ways, she is the epitome of the indie culture that the show sends up.
smugly enamored couple sit in a restaurant, their hands clasped as they fret over the menu.
The chicken, for instance: can the waitress tell them a little bit about its provenance?In 2001, the critic Greil Marcus named Sleater-Kinney the best rock band in America, and when it went on indefinite hiatus, five years later, the news triggered many end-of-an-era laments.Last year, Brownstein started a new band, Wild Flag, with the drummer from Sleater-Kinney, Janet Weiss, and two other indie-rock eminences, Mary Timony and Rebecca Cole.“His name was Colin.” Peter seems appeased: “He looks like a happy little guy who runs around.” But then he wonders if the animal had “a lot of friends—other chickens as friends?” The waitress, who finds this a reasonable question, admits, “I don’t know that I can speak to that level of intimate knowledge about him.”“Portlandia,” which débuted last winter, on the Independent Film Channel, and returns on January 6th, is the rare sketch-comedy series that has a sustained object of satire.For twelve years, Brownstein, now thirty-seven, was a guitarist and singer in Sleater-Kinney, a three-woman band from Olympia, Washington.