Portlandia just keeps getting better.


The third season of IFC's Portlandia is just unbelievably, astonishingly good. It's one of my favorite shows on television (well, iPad) right now. Above, the "nerd" PSA I've always been hoping someone would make.

I also loved the recent segment featuring George Wendt as a Portland Tribune journalist who is newly demoted to “linkalist,” in a scenario many working newsmen and women will unfortunately find familiar.

Carrie and Fred, we know you love Boing Boing; now you know Boing Boing loves you back.

If you haven't dug in yet, dig in. Below, another couple of recent clips. Anyone who's ever been to a raw vegan restaurant knows the necessity of a Fart Patio. And, below that, "The Battle of the Gentle Bands," featuring Dinosaur Jr. frontman J. Mascis. Actually, "Gentle Bands" may really just be an Ambicon promo.

[Update: Some Boing Boing readers outside of the US report that the videos are region-blocked. There are workarounds! Google 'em.]




    1. Savoring? I tore through it like a short stack of marionberry pancakes!

      Only 12 months before I get new stuff!

  1. Personally, not happy with either stereotype of a self-described nerd.  Most of us aren’t either extreme.  It would be a lot easier if we were.

    1. Women nerds :/ 

      Just hang yourselves now. Do it! Because your not a nerd if something wants to put its dick in you!

      But seriously, I’m not a nerd. I was a nerd once. But now I’m an IT professional. Woohoo!

  2. The one where the guy has the recording studio in his house is my favorite Portlandia sketch.  There’s a lot of great musician in-jokes in that one.

    1.  Ha! I just watched that and chuckled. I’ve also never seen a gold pickguard on an olympic white JM.

  3. I find it funny that they do this PSA, and the dude ‘Fred’ wears those hipster nerdy glasses.  I mean do they even have lenses in them?

  4. Great acting by the lead in the PSA skit. But even knowing it’s a joke, it hits too close to home for my comfort. There are actual sexy, socially adept women in this world who are genuinely into comic books, sci-fi, programming, the works. In numbers that are surprising but shouldn’t be. People really do assume they’re not who they say they are, and it’s really not okay.

    1. Right, but in the proposed scenario it’s obviously not that. I don’t think this is tied to the Internets ongoing conversation about “geek girls.” They don’t, I’m guessing, have a dog in that fight. It’s just a self contained skit. not a sweeping social commentary. Just my guess. I tend to think Portlandia is “sweet” in the classic sense, so to me their skits don’t have bite behind them… just like puppy nibbles, plus they seem to be pretty inclusive and never outright mean.

      I think I replied to the wrong post, my bad.

      1. I think it proposes a false dichotomy. “Either you’re an ugly awkward sad male nerd, or you’re a hot fake stupid female ‘nerd’.” In reality there are many shades of gray.

        1. I won’t argue that it doesn’t, but this doesn’t represent reality. If the sketch was a narrative one, where this guy was talking to that girl would you argue that the character had to be representative of all “nerds”? Where is the line set for this kind of thing? If this were journalism or even a larger piece of work, TV show about this guy/girl then maybe there is an issue? It’s a one off with very specific circumstances. I see the problem but I’m not sure this is material that is meant to throw down in the ongoing argument.

      1. Nah, a Geek is what Nerds aspire to be. No one aspires to be a Nerd, that would just be silly.

        Geeks are different and quirky and have non-mainstream hobbies or lots of trivial specialized knowledge someone else might find interesting. Geeks are perfectly capable of being social and popular, and I agree – defining yourself as a geek is fine. There’s no gatekeepers. It’s a willing association.

        Nerds are different. The world, unlike geek, doesn’t tend to have all those positive fringe attributes that would make someone want to self identify as one. It means irritating, awkward, unattractive, and socially inept. Nerd isn’t one of those things you can self-label as. You are a nerd if /other/ people think you are a nerd.

        You can grow out of being a nerd. Most people want to! You don’t really grow out of being a geek. :P You can hide it, but you don’t really grow out of it.

        (Or at least that’s one particular way to look at it. The difference between the “you aren’t really a geek” and “you aren’t really a nerd” has always felt pretty substantial to me. And I’ve known a few nerd-girls too. I actually thought the nerdy-girl was a pretty common stereotype in media? Certainly when have been appropriate to include one?.)

        1. As a content expert, having been, for decades, considered both nerd and geek before there was an accessible internet, back when it was considered legal to hunt us for sport, the arbitrary distinctions don’t matter.  There will always be someone who will consider you both geek and nerd, as well as someone more hipster than nerd/geek will consider you too normal to be a geek.  Fuck em.  Mean people who have a hobby of disapproving of others, suck.  This goes for nerds, geeks, mundanes, typicals and jocks.  The Fake Geek Girl conversation is dumb, sexist and mean.  As William Shatner once said “Get a life”. 

    2. Agree 100%. It’s a shame they had to perpetuate the “fake geek girl” stereotype. Would have been much better if the “actual nerd” had been a girl, too.

      1. Yeah. Extra damning is that not only is the “fake” nerd at the beginning of the skit a woman, and all of the “authentic” nerds are men, but even the only verbal example he gives of a “fake nerd” is a “sexy girl who went to see the Avengers.”

  5. when i was young ‘nerd’ wasn’t something you called someone because of what they liked, but because of what they were like,,, seems these days nerd is more a description of people who really really like something ‘im a music nerd’, ‘im a comic book nerd’, ‘im a _____ nerd” its like the word nerd has replaced the word ‘hobbiest’ or ‘enthusiast’ 

  6. Yeah! Take that, fake geek girls! You certainly do exist! You certainly are threatening! If we don’t successfully marginalize you then we might have to share our stuff with people who like the same stuff we do only they don’t like it *properly*!

    1. Just out of curiosity, how do you distinguish between nerds and geeks? I’ve always felt there should be a distinction. For instance I’ve always thought of nerds as people who write computer programs while geeks write science fiction novels. Nerds work in IT, geeks work in design or advertising.

      This probably came about in my mind because I’ve always loved things that are often considered nerdy–D&D, science fiction, science fact–but never felt like a genuine nerd because I’m terrible at math. So I preferred to think of myself as a geek. The fact that “geek” was once a term that referred to circus performers who bit the heads off live chickens also appealed to me.

      1. I think to qualify as a geek, you need to be circus people and bite the heads off of chickens. For money.

      2. You don’t have to be smart, or interesting, or knowledgeable to be a nerd. (It helps, though!)
        You just have to effectively behave in such a manner as to socially isolate yourself through a combination of awkwardness, unattractiveness, and annoyingness.

        Even nerds don’t like to hang around nerds, though they may be forced to by a limit on other options! But Geeks LOVE to hang around other Geeks. Geeks are weird and niche. Nerds are just kind of sad.

        At least as one possible interpretation.

    1. Okay, I read this.  It’s hilarious.  Because the female nerds apparently want the male nerds to stop saying sexist things that marginalize their nerdiness.

      But if the male nerds could understand nuance, socially-appropriate behavior, gender-appropriate communication, or women broadly… then *they wouldn’t be nerds*.

  7. and and and and and and and and and I just wish Fred would stop doing this stuttering joke 10x an episode, my only dislike of an otherwise great show

    1. I’m starting to feel like it might, at least partially, be organic. I am curious how much of their work is improvved

  8. I’m starting to feel like I need to fill out some sort of form to qualify for nerd-dom. I’ve completed NRD-1 and NRD-5 in triplicate, and I’m just waiting for my witnesses to send back their notarized statements verifying my standing as the absolute least-popular person in my junior high school. 

    1. You just have to find the important Gatekeepers & survive the No Win Scenario of Madonna/Whore complex!  Come on, KIRK beat the Kobayashi Maru!

      1. Yeah, those notarized statements are gold. The Gatekeepers of Nerddom are the “popular” kids. Once they think you’re a nerd, you’re good to go! Everyone knows the NRD forms are just a formality.

    2. After watching this dumb video, I suspect you’ll have to provide your “P3″ form (proof of penis possession) in triplicate to qualify.

  9. As much as I’m enjoying season 3 so far nothing has, for me, surpassed Doug and Claire’s Battlestar Galactica obsession.

    But then maybe that’s why I laughed so uncomfortably at the “Nerd PSA”.

  10. This show is still wildly hit or miss with me. While I think a couple skits a season are brilliant, I find just as many grating, and most are just kind of boring. At least the show is mostly new territory.

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