#84 TV Shows Set in Portland

When I first heard that a TNT show called “Leverage” was filming in Portland, I was super duper excited. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Wire” all do a great job of capturing and depicting the pulse of the city they are filmed in. After watching the first episode of season two, I was a little disappointed to find our city is actually supposed to be a representation of Boston. The opening scene of Season 2 shows a car racing through “Boston’s” downtown area until it flips and lights on fire… in front of Mary’s Club.

Mary's Grand Opening!

Over the course of the next couple of seasons, the show would continue to highlight more of “Boston’s” metro area spots like Gilt Club, North Park Blocks and Big Pink. This made me wonder, “What other shows are set in Portland?” The garbage began to stack up.

Portlandia – Set and filmed in Portland. If you think this show is a perfect depiction of Portland, you might be right. If you think this show is one of the funniest shows on TV, you would definitely be wrong. Portlandia is a pile of diarrhea. I understand that Fred and Carrie are trying to poke fun at Portland through a series of sketches, but can you remember any that are actually funny? For those of you who say “Put a Bird On It” was hilarious, I ask you to think of how it ends. Now, go back and watch it. Yeah, not very funny.

Free Agents – Set in Portland. Two funny people acting in two unfunny character roles. The PR business is boring, dull and life sucking (like Aloha!). If it hasn’t been cancelled yet, it should be (like Aloha!).

Under Suscpision – Set and filmed in Portland. Cancelled after one season

Life Unexpected – Set in Portland. Cancelled

Nowhere Man – Set in Portland.  Cancelled after one season

Grimm – Set and filmed in Portland. Feels like NBC’s attempt to get into the Sci-Fi biz ala “X-Files”, “Fringe” and “Eureka”.  Their “pilot” episode is about a college student who is mysteriously attacked. HA! Pilot!

The only successful show I see coming from this city is a fictional, African American comedy about two rookies drafted by the Blazers in the early 00’s (may or may not be on CW). One is from a small town in Texas, where he was born with values and a God-fearing sense of decency. The other is from some ghetto on the East Coast who loooves marijuana. They get an apartment together. Its “the Odd Couple” meets “Weeds.” Comedy. Insanity. Ratings.

What would the name of that show be?

21 thoughts on “#84 TV Shows Set in Portland

  1. If you’ve ever tried to pile diarrhea, you’ll know it’s as impossible as nailing jello to a tree.

  2. I absolutely loathed Portlandia, because it’s one of the few well-known shows that takes place in Oregon, and this of course gives off the stereotype that ALL Oregonians are “quirky” hipster trash. If you believe that, take a trip out to Hermiston or Grant’s Pass to see just how wrong you are.

  3. Portlandia is not very funny but it is weird. It is also a bit gross. They do some original things but they lack sufficient humor. Coming up with weird things to throw up on the screen works for awhile but gets dull in the end. Portlandia is a parody but, then again, so is Portland.

    I would like these words to be banished for a decade or more: craft, artisinal, farm-to-anything, mid-century, retro, sustainable, micro-anything, repurposed, recycled, gluten. Please, can we have new words as they are boring.

  4. Shows made there reelect the city perfect. Boring, flat, and second rate. I grew up there, thank God I made it out.

  5. Will original programming that is streamed to viewers online, either free or for a subscription payment, become the norm? Will more TV shows start to premiere online, in series-length caches, allowing viewers to choose when and how they watch them? Netflix hopes so. As well as House of Cards, the US-based firm has splashed a reported £190m content budget on a revival of the cult comedy Arrested Development , plus four more shows. The success of House of Cards (actually a remake of a 20-year-old British drama starring Ian Richardson) must surely prompt rivals to try something similar.

  6. The response to the show has been overwhelming. Metacritic gave a tally of 71 out of 100 which is considered to be a generous and favorable review. Robert Lloyed wrote in “Los Angeles Times” that the show was funny and charming. But there were few contrary statements; most criticizing one came in “Variety”, written by Brian Lowry who wrote that the depiction of array of characters was tiresome and the presentation indicated that the series was on a shoestring budget. The first episode of Portlandia received 263,000 viewers according to the “Nielsen Ratings”. The number of DVR viewings grew to 725,000 in the repeated telecasts for three days. This figure does not include the 500,000 online preview views on the official website of the IFC.com, YouTube and Hulu. The response to the show has been so favorable that the mayor of Portland, Sam Adams declared 21st January as the Portlandia Day.

  7. Portlandia is funny, though at times the sketches can be a bit disappointing, i still love it. I live in Seattle if that has anything to do with it. The “Everything Plan” sketch is great, as well as “Outdoor Movie”. I wouldn’t say it’s HILARIOUS, but I watched every episode of it, marathon style, when i found it. The opening sequence track (Washed Out – Feel It All Around) is great as well.

  8. Portlandia is not funny. It is gross but it does reflect Portland’s grimy ethos.

    Grimm OTOH portrays Portlanders as demons and devils and gnomes and the like. Now that is funny and quite an accurate depiction.

  9. I find Portlandia just beyond annoying and soooooo super stupid. Much like its big cousin, SNL, all it really is a bunch of ad-libbed one joke sketches that Fred and Carrie find funny because they’re probably stoned to the gills. Blech.

    It isn’t even a sensitive to my fair city being dissed thing. I’d love it if it were as funny as, say, this blog. It isn’t it’s dumb. Non-locals (unless they’re Armisen fans for some reason) don’t dig it either. My BFF still lives on the East Coast and has visited here just twice. She didn’t find it particularly accurate in any way, shape, size or form. We even both bag on PDX and she commented that it was an insult to our city.

    Grimm’s kinda meh to me–a procedural with hobgoblins that doesn’t even come off especially Portlandish, even if it IS filmed here. To date the most overall depiction of Portland (nad its culture) I’ve seen was Ramona and Beezus. And it turned out to have been filmed in Vancouver!

  10. I agree that Portlandia isn’t funny, but maybe it’s because we live here. For example, a lot the kind of people depicted in shows like “King of the Hill” don’t think that show is funny, because they live it. Maybe it’s hilarious to people in other parts of the country, but then again, maybe not. Personally, I can’t bring myself to watch it.

  11. until portlandia starts doing sketches on gresham tweakers, it gets the thumbs down from me.

    i kinda like grimm, regardless of it being set in the area… kinda easy pill to swallow kinda show. good background noise while i troll ebay.

  12. I wanted to like “Portlandia” but it is a piece of s**t. See, comedies are supposed to be funny. But their self-satisfaction and condesceding smugness overwhelms the whole show. Plus they can’t even pronounce “Willamette.”

  13. I was about to post about Perfect Couples but you beat me to it. I believe the dude wears a Beavers shirt in one episode as well… I didn’t notice the connection until I saw an OR license plate in a throwaway exterior shot.

  14. Under Suspicion and Nowhere Man apparently got pretty good reviews, but yeah, as we learned with Arrested Development, no matter how good reviews are it doesn’t keep a show on the air. In A.D.’s case, which is very, very rare (Family Guy and Smothers Brothers are the only examples I can think of), its actually coming back, apparently.

    Portlandia’s sketches with the giggling “Japanese” girls in the coffee shop and Fred Armisen as the militant-to-a-fault bicyclist made me laugh.

    • You forgot another doomed, craptastic show set in Portland: last season’s Perfect Couples, which aired on NBC. Like Free Agents, it’s set in Portland, but actually filmed in L.A. However, at least Free Agents tries to pretend it’s Portland; Perfect Couples had absolutely NO connection to Portland, other than a random mention of the Blazers.

Leave a Reply