In case all of my references to it aren’t enough, let me state on the record that I am a huge fan of Portlandia, IFC’s very funny and wacky parody of the hipster subculture. Luckily for me and all other Portlandia fans, the show will be returning on January 4th for a third season. To help pass the time, IFC is releasing Kumail Tours Portlandia, a web companion where regular Portlandia guest Kumail Nanjiani visits various locales within Portland that have inspired sketches on the show.
In the first episode, Nanjiani pays a visit to the In Other Words feminist bookstore/community center, which he claims inspired the ludicrous Women and Women First bookstore sketch. Give how absurd that sketch is, its closeness to reality amazes me. The actual bookstore lacks a user-accessible computer catalog and offers a “semen retention class”. Similarly to Nanjiani, I am very curious as to what happens in that course.
Nanjiani, who also has a supporting role on TNT’s Franklin and Bash, has appeared in several episodes of Portlandia, including one where he has a hilarious turn as a waiter who just wants to explain the restaurant’s cockamamie menu. I sure hope there’s a real-life eatery serving as the inspiration for that sketch.
Together with the Total Bearding Network, Trapped in the Closet, and several other shows, IFC is continuing to push into the web originals game. Kumail Tours Portlandia is produced by Broadway Video; clearly, Lorne Michaels’ studio is gaining more experience in online video beyond its consistently solid Above Average channel. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to lose a few hours watching my favorite Portlandia clips.