“Portlandia” Season Three is hit or miss with the jokes, but when they land, it’s quite amusing, especially for somebody born and raised in the state of Oregon. Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen are both fairly versatile in their outlandish characters and situations.
Broadway Video | NR – 242 min. – $24.95 | July 9, 2013
Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen (created by)
Cast: Carrie Brownstein, Fred Armisen
Features: Featurette, Deleted Scenes
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Disc Size: 42.9 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE SEASON – 3.5/5
“Portlandia”, speaking as a native Oregonian, albeit one who hasn’t spend a lot of time in the Rose City, the extreme nature the series has taken over its three seasons is amusing and often spot on. However, and what is most impressive, is how creators and stars Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, who recently left “Saturday Night Live”, are able to poke fun at some of the personality extremes who inhabit Portland and yet do it in a way that’s not derogatory or mean-spirited. In fact, based on reading comments online and news stories in and around this state, it’s a point of pride. As the slogan goes, although stolen from the city of Austin, “Keep Portland Weird” is something they take to heart.
This third season is basically the same as the first two years. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein once again don wacky personalities, often with eccentric make-up and costumes, playing up outlandish characters created to expose some of the quirkier places and people in the city.
If you haven’t seen “Portlandia” before, each episode often takes one subject and runs with it with a variety of skits. For instance, in ‘Nina’s Birthday’, Armisen plays Nina while Brownstein plays “her” boyfriend and the entire episode finds her planning for the party, including expected expenses for the attendees, and an invited couple needing to take out a birthday bank loan. As with most of the skits this and previous years, the jokes themselves aren’t exactly laugh-out-loud funny but the inane situation is what makes it pure gold… or high-end silver.
Guest stars this season include Chloe Sevigne, Jim Gaffigan, Jeff Goldblum, Patton Oswalt, former MTV newscaster Kurt Loder, Kyle MacLachlan and Roseanne Barr as the Interim Mayor.
Episodes (favorites in asterisks):
1. Winter in Portlandia (Winter Special)
2. Take Back MTV*
4. Nina’s Birthday*
6. Off the Grid
7. The Temp*
8. Soft Opening
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
Like for seasons one and two, thankfully to keep consistency, the one disc is tucked in a thin digipak foldout with a thin cardboard outer layer.
Portland Tours (24:43; HD) are a series of locations, and the real people, featured in the show including the Feminist Bookstore and Voodoo Doughnuts; Hosted by stand-up comic Kumail Nanjiani.
Deleted Scenes (5:59; HD) – There are two scenes/segments, ‘Changing for Roommate’ and ‘Earth Day’, not included in the episodes.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Released through Broadway Video, “Portlandia” Season Three offers all 11 episodes on one dual-layered Blu-ray disc. The show is presented with a 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and a satisfying 1080p high-def transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec). The picture itself isn’t anything extraordinary as it was either shot on the cheap or on the move, but there’s no obvious signs of artifacting and the detail levels is good enough and on par with what’s seen on the IFC HD channel.
AUDIO – 3.0/5
Unfortunately, but not surprising, Season Three only offers a standard Dolby Digital 2.0 track. While it stinks this didn’t get the proper lossless treatment, it’s at least adequate for the home video audience providing for dialogue which is at least clear.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, “Portlandia” Season Three is hit or miss with the jokes, but when they land, it’s quite amusing, especially for somebody born and raised in the state of Oregon. Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen are both fairly versatile in their outlandish characters and situations. The Blu-ray released isn’t anything incredible but given its relatively low $25 retail price ($2.27/episode), it’s not a bad deal though I do wish there were more features and that the audio were upgraded to at least 5.1 channels.