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The Portlandia Effect: How Did the Show Change the City It Satirized?

The Portlandia Effect: How Did the Show Change the City It Satirized?

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  • This is so rich and complicated. The city was going to change regardless (as all second- and third-tier American cities have in the last eight years). Still, as one source puts it, there’s no way the show didn’t have an effect. I find myself entertained, thinking that the blowback against the show sounds

    This is so rich and complicated. The city was going to change regardless (as all second- and third-tier American cities have in the last eight years). Still, as one source puts it, there’s no way the show didn’t have an effect. I find myself entertained, thinking that the blowback against the show sounds like a sketch on the show — and I guess that’s the whole problem. Reminds me of that visual echo chamber in the tunnel of mirrors in “Citizen Kane.”

    “The volunteer-run bookstore and site of the Women and Women First sketches, where Armisen dressed as a feminist in a grey wig, suddenly cut ties with the show. The staff penned a scathing blog post titled ‘Fuck Portlandia’ that explained, ‘Portlandia is fueling mass displacement in Portland’ and making the city ‘something twee and whimsical for the incoming technocrat hordes.’”

  • Portland hating Portlandia and blaming it for its evolution/devolution is the most Portland thing ever.

  • Cities change all the time - artists move into economically depressed areas because they can afford to live there and make an artistic impression on those areas that makes more affluent people want to come there. It’s a continuous cycle in many urban areas. This show probably helped give Portland more

    Cities change all the time - artists move into economically depressed areas because they can afford to live there and make an artistic impression on those areas that makes more affluent people want to come there. It’s a continuous cycle in many urban areas. This show probably helped give Portland more name recognition as an artistic area, but it was going to change either way.

  • When I visited Portland years ago, I was shocked at how much the locals complained about Portlandia every chance they got. One shop window proudly had a sign that declared "no merchandise featured on Portlandia." A vendor at a flea market told me one of the other vendors there had thrown away everything

    When I visited Portland years ago, I was shocked at how much the locals complained about Portlandia every chance they got. One shop window proudly had a sign that declared "no merchandise featured on Portlandia." A vendor at a flea market told me one of the other vendors there had thrown away everything he made with birds on it after the "Put a bird on it" sketch came out. It was slightly sad, but mostly hilarious, much like (of course) a Portlandia sketch.

  • Thinking a tv show caused an uptick in tourism = acceptable. Thinking a tv show caused mass gentrification = delusional. Nice to see residents staying weird in the brain though.

  • As Jane said, the city was going to change regardless. But the show doesn’t exist in a vacuum—rather, it’s a feedback loop tied to tourism, commerce, and that classic capitalist mantra of “economic development.” But, unlike, say, The Sopranos, Portlandia paints a picture of its namesake city that is

    As Jane said, the city was going to change regardless. But the show doesn’t exist in a vacuum—rather, it’s a feedback loop tied to tourism, commerce, and that classic capitalist mantra of “economic development.” But, unlike, say, The Sopranos, Portlandia paints a picture of its namesake city that is closely aligned to tenets of Richard Florida’s creative class theory. While satirizing many of these aspects, the satire in and of itself fuels this idea of Portland being a cool, hip place to live for people who enjoy an entire skit about someone asking where the chicken on her plate came from.

    In other words, you can’t completely blame Portlandia for a changing Portland, but the show makes it way too easy to do so.

  • I will forever love the sketch where they ask about how the chickens were raised and the characters end up as part of a strange cult 🙌🏻 This show so captured the humor of certain social changes happening during its run.

  • The people who do the show are probably too quick to disavow the influence they’ve had, and the Outraged Citizens of Portland are probably too quick to chalk up all their gentrification problems to the show. The city and the show mutually produce one another, but this is nothing new: “the south” in film

    The people who do the show are probably too quick to disavow the influence they’ve had, and the Outraged Citizens of Portland are probably too quick to chalk up all their gentrification problems to the show. The city and the show mutually produce one another, but this is nothing new: “the south” in film and TV (Nashville, anyone? S-town?) has produced versions of itself in the actual south, and vice versa. Eventually, we’ll all live the Epcot-center version of our authentic places, and we’ll all have to decide who built it, who bought it, and whether there’s any alternative to it.