In a memorable segment from last year's often-hilarious run of "Portlandia," stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein played a couple obsessed with a show even more far out than their trippy Oregonian surroundings: "Battlestar Galactica."
Unable to accept the end of the space drama's revival, the duo hunted for the series' writer and enlisted star Edward James Olmos in a bid to mount just one more episode.
No such challenges, thankfully, exist with "Portlandia," a comic quirk-fest that has earned a strong, if appropriately mellower following than "Battlestar." Armisen and Brownstein's multi-character sketch program makes a welcome return to IFC Friday, kicking off its third season.
For the uninitiated, “Portlandia” is an ironic love letter to a city that, by Armisen and Brownstein’s rendering, wallows in hipsterish detached irony. Their Portland is rife with all kinds of obsessions, most far more local than “Battlestar”: Food (brunch is a contact sport and pasta addiction is a disease), creativity (nautical knots and painting a bird on any object represent high art) and progressivism (the Women & Women First feminist bookstore and the annual Allergy Pride Parade are community staples).
Armisen and Brownstein’s city is proud of its eccentric reputation, as evidenced by the “Keep Portland Weird” sign seen in opening credits of “Portlandia.” The show gleefully celebrates the strangeness of a metropolis that’s a planet unto itself – one never visited on “Battlestar Galactica.” Check out a Season 3 preview below:
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.