As Portlandia prepares to exit after eight seasons, IFC plans to return horror-comedy Stan Against Evil, starring John C. McGinley, for season three next fall while cult-favorite baseball comedy Brockmire, starring Hank Azaria, comes back for season two on Wednesday, April 25, at 10 p.m..
Credited for both establishing and defining IFC as an offbeat destination, sketch comedy Portlandia has never been a mass appeal hit. Yet, it has been instrumental in exemplifying why critical acclaim and social media matters. Portlandia won a Peabody Award in 2012, a Writer’s Guild Award in 2013, and four Creative Arts Emmy Awards. And it will be remembered for the peculiar characters that emerged out of the American Northwest, its good-natured lampooning of hipster culture, its endless roster of guest stars, and, quoting Carrie Brownstein, its “lens of absurdity.”
“We wanted to have some sense of control how to conclude the series as opposed to it getting away from us or getting canceled,” said Portlandia creator and star Fred Armisen, who also wrote and executive produced the series alongside Brownstein. “We wanted to end the show while we all love doing it.”
”Something we are becoming more aware of as we come to a close is just the joy of the whole process,” said Brownstein. “The creation of it, the writing of it, getting to film in Portland, getting to change the narratives season after season.”
Unlike some long-running series that treat their final seasons like the end is near, often finishing storylines and bringing back characters from the past, Armisen and Brownstein have avoided any sentimentality with sketches that can live on like any prior season.
“We were very careful not to make it feel too much like a last season,” said Armisen. “Part of it is it’s a sketch show and people can watch in any order, and they do. But I remember when we were writing, we said, ‘Let’s make sure we are writing sketches that can last awhile.‘”
Created with good intentions, a homage of sorts to the locals in Portland whose eccentricities were often satirized, the fabric of Portlandia was the city of Portland and its people. And it will be that same focus that will see the series bid adieu in these final 10 episodes.
“We were much more thoughtful about not doing another season without Chico or Ted Douglas or Jamie,” said Brownstein. “Those were the people that feel like the supporting cast of the show in many ways. We wanted to make sure they felt like they were part of the sendoff.”
“For our very last season, we put this band together,” said Armisen, who highlighted some of the upcoming guest stars. “Because of our current administration, punk can come back and be an angry type of music again. So we got Henry Rollins as the lead singer of the band and Krist Novoselic from Nirvana and Brendan Canty from Fugazi.”
Portlandia returns for its upcoming eighth season on Jan. 18. Seventy-five episodes in total were produced.
[Images courtesy of IFC/Augusta Quirk]