Portlandia is Reality.

Before coming to Portland, I watched a couple episodes of the semi-famous television show “Portlandia.” It features a very distinct taste of humor centered around the absurdities that stem from a city full of hipsters. The two main actors – Fred and Carrie – portray a variety of stereotypes that Portland is infamous for perpetuating, ranging from the devout lesbian feminists to the angry cyclists.

Originally, I thought that these portrayals couldn’t be real and the show was simply taking the population to the extreme in order to gain laughs – and laugh I did! But since arriving here, I’ve slowly realized that the characters in the show are REAL. I’ve encountered several of them already and continue to meet more on a daily basis!

One of my favorite scenes in the show features a grocery store and the conversation that ensues from a customer forgetting his reuseable bags. The cashier launches into a full-scale attack and refuses to give the customer plastic bags. During a recent trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I witnessed the same conversation in real life! Apparently BB&B recently initiated a new policy of eliminating ALL bags, forcing customers to provide their own. Luckily I had brought my own reuseable bag out of habit, but the woman in front of me in line had not. She was outraged that she would have to carry her 20+ small items to her car in a cart and then unloaded. I guess life does imitate art!

Another skit in Portlandia titled “Mixologist” makes fun of the ridiculous food and drink combinations in Portland. Carrie asks a bartender to mix her up a drink and the bartender begins dumping the most eclectic assortment of items into the blender, like eggs and orange peels. Portland is definitely the mecca of strange combinations. I mentioned the bizarre ice cream shop Salt and Straw before, but I recently went to the food cart Potato Champion to get poutine and saw that they have PB&J french fries with thai peanut sauce!

Just to give you an idea of the vibe in Portland, here is a little clip from the first episode of Portlandia…

Believe me, walking down the street looks like a mirror image of that music video. Except maybe the clowns…


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