TV: Portlandia returns for a third season

Posted by Sam Bouchat on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 11:40 am.

The largest city in Oregon burst into the television comedy world in January 2011, gaining national cultural recognition and a unique ability to laugh at itself. Luckily for Portlanders and TV-lovers alike, “Portlandia” has begun its third season.

“There’s a little bit more plot this season,” co-creator and director Jonathan Krisel said. “We have a bunch of sketches that continue a story. This season, it’s just kind of maturing in a way; we can tackle more interesting stories with people and dynamics.”

Season three premiered on IFC this past Friday, Jan. 4 with back-to-back episodes, returning with such lovable characters as goatee-sporting hipster Spyke, organic-only couple Peter and Nance, the bizarre feminist bookstore owners and the comparatively normal Fred and Carrie, where main Portlandia actors Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein play themselves. New characters were also introduced, like Malcolm and Kris, two overprotective, middle-aged parents with (intentionally) no interesting characteristics. Krisel assures audiences that there will be more dating and romance this season than in seasons past.

“It’s still as crazy, as silly as it’s ever been,” Krisel said. “We were exposing cultural things that were going on before, and now we’re exposing more personal and social things that are going on. We’re taking on how people live with each other and how they relate to each other rather than how they relate to, say, food, which is how we’ve done it until this point.”

Episode one followed Spyke and his friend Iris as they tried to take MTV back from its primarily Tween audience. Episode two had former Portland Mayor Sam Adams sending Fred and Carrie to Seattle to try and commandeer some new Portland citizens. Guest stars included Jeff Goldblum (“Jurassic Park”), retired tennis pro Martina Navratilova and several MTV personalities.

“That’s a side of Portland that really exists, a kind of earnest excitement, because (the characters) don’t care how people perceive them, which is a very hipster quality,” Krisel said. “They’re happy to live their life. I think it’s their earnestness that’s fresh and exciting. It’s always fun to put them into situations, where they can have an un-jaded and uncool reaction, which is more fun to play.”