Portland isn't the only place with hipsters: Presenting Portlandia, Denver edition

Categories: Film and TV

IFC's new show Portlandia is basically a hipster SNL. It stars Fred Armisen (of, uh, SNL) and Carrie Brownstein (aka the Jesus Christ of Portland hip). The first episode premieres Friday, but you can watch it now on Hulu. In it, jokes are made about organic chicken and radical feminist shops, etc. It's all very, very lovingly done -- both Brownstein and Armisen are clearly the kind of people who would order local and read zines. And while Portland is an obvious choice for the setting of this kind of thing, the dream of the '90s is also alive here in Denver. So what would a Denver version of the show look like? First, the title: Portlandia is the name of a famous sculpture, so why not go with National Velvet, everyone's favorite light-up phallus pile of kidneys?

National Velvet

Starring: Trey Parker, Matt Stone and a rotating cast of local musicians. This would actually be much funnier than the duo in Portlandia, mostly because the South Park dudes would be so much more merciless.

Opening credit song: Nowhere in Portlandia is it clearer that this is people making fun of their own kind than in the opening credits, where hipstamatic images of the city play behind chill-wave classic (ha!) "Feel It All Around," by Washed Out. Unbelievable. Anyway, the Denver version would have to be "Pigeon," by Tennis. Flavor of the week, everyone!

Possible sketch premises:

- Our characters go to Sputnik and start ordering off-menu condiments for their sweet-potato fries. Spicy hemp relish or tree-bark chutney, anyone?

-Trey Parker goes to Salvagetti Bicycle Workshop wearing one of those Italian bike-racing hats, saying his fixed-gear bike is too mainstream and demanding a gear-less road bike to complete his messenger route.

-Yoga classes for dogs, held at Mercury Cafe

- Everyone goes to a no-fi rock show in the basement of some dude's house in Baker, where there are no instruments and the bands just emote and use their bodies to "play" objects found in the basement.

- A beer run to Argonaut gets complicated when two people decide they aren't satisfied with the selection on the floor and demand to be taken to a secret back room where they stow the really good stuff. And the only way they let you in is if you eat four entire hops off a vine.

- Before getting lunch on Capitol Hill, our heroes must find a parking space. Their search finally lands them behind a dumpster in an alley cove hidden behind overhanging branches.

- A drug-addled camping trip to the mountains ends in a horror show of hallucinated dinosaurs and skeletons. The next day, the crew wakes up in City Park, only to realize that they never actually got to the mountains but instead wound up in the Natural History Museum.

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ick. Saying Portlandia is a hipster SNL is like saying the Kids in the Hall was a Canadian SNL. Just because the producer is the same doesn't make it comparable. Is Porky's comparable to Seven? Lets face it Lorne Michaels really dumbs it down for the larger markets, and the cast and writers of SNL have been shaky for as long as Will Ferrell and Tina Fey have been out. I would say Portlandia could be trying to cater to the same demographic as SNL except it seems like they are catering to people that might actually like to laugh. I loved this pilot and I hope it rains self deprecation on pop culture for many seasons, lord knows there has been a whole in my heart since the Kids got canned. As far as a Denver equivalent goes I am pretty happy not trying to ride the coat tales of other cities like some under appreciated younger sibling and honestly our best bet for a tv show plot involves dispensaries...and why that hasn't been pitched yet is beyond me.

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