‘Portlandia’ Stars Promise Deeper Character Development, Less Sketch Comedy in New Season

"Portlandia": Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen (Photo: Christopher Hornbecker/IFC)

Though the 10-episode third season of IFC’s hipster-skewering sketch comedy show “Portlandia”  doesn’t premiere until Friday, Jan. 4 at 10/9c, fans eager to revisit the city where “young people go to retire” and Kyle MacLachlan reigns supreme as an enthusiastic mayor/reggae bassist can check out a special “Winter in Portlandia” bonus episode this Friday, Dec. 14, which promises, according to co-creators Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, to showcase all of Portlandia’s leading citizens “dealing with the darkness and dreariness of winter” in their own irreverent ways.

DVR “Winter in Portlandia”

Armisen and Brownstein recently spoke to the media about “Portlandia’s” new season, promising a whole new roster of guest stars that includes such comedic luminaries as Patton Oswalt, Jim Gaffigan, and Roseanne Barr, as well as tennis-pro Martina Navratilova, who, according to Armisen, was a natural at delivering her devastatingly deadpan lines.

Preview “Winter in Portlandia”:

[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/watch/Portlandia/5981139143307715112/2314292900/Bobby-Moynihan—Winter-in-Portlandia/embed 580 476]

Of course, it’ll be tough to top the surreal experience of having Jeff Goldblum, whom both Brownstein and Armisen mentioned as delivering a stand-out guest performance, pop up as a Portland doily salesman, or Kyle MacLachan play a mayor who, says Armisen, isn’t so much interested in nitty gritty of local government as much as he is “just happy to have the job.”

Brownstein says that, in writing the latest season, she and Armisen “really wanted to go deeper into character development,” adding that, as the show develops, it’s veering away from sketch comedy in order to focus on the various oddballs that populate Portland’s alternate universe.  Armisen adds that fans can expect many more sketches exploring the relationships between Peter and Nance, the food-origin obsessed couple who wandered haplessly onto a cultish chicken farm in the first season, as well as Kath and Dave, the more “activist-minded” couple that obsessively demarcates dog park boundaries for their tsunami-rescued pup.

Add “Portlandia” to Your XFINITY Queue

As for giving other cities the “Portlandia” treatment, Armisen says that, while it can be “risky” to take a show to a new city, he’s seen flashes of hipster fodder in cities like Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and, most interestingly, Detroit.  However, explains Brownstein, “What is local in Portland already has resonance in other places, like Brooklyn, Austin, or even Amsterdam.”

Asked whether viewers can expect some holiday-movie allusions in Friday’s “Winter in Portlandia” episode, Armisen demurred, explaining that the show wouldn’t be reference-heavy at all, though he did add that he enjoys logging a viewing of “A Nightmare Before Christmas” every holiday season.  “For me,” Brownstein said, “it’s ‘Meet Me In St. Louis.’  Judy Garland is just  great in it.”

You can meet Fred and Carrie in Portland this Friday on IFC at 10:30/9:30c.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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