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Portlandia: Honesty, technology loops, and local commerce

Recently, I was checking my Facebook newsfeed while simultaneously G-chatting on my laptop while texting/checking my Twitter feed on my iPhone with the television on in the background. I started paying attention to the TV, which I had flipped to IFC’s newest miniseries, “Portlandia.” Then, I realized I was in a “technology loop.” What’s a technology loop, you ask?

That clip alone caused this multitasking Millennial to close my laptop, put aside my phone and start paying attention – and I’m glad I did. For the next half hour, I couldn’t stop laughing and I’ve been watching Portlandia every week since it premiered in late-January.

What makes Portlandia special is its raw honesty. We all know people like the characters Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein portray. Whether we want to admit it or not, there’s a little bit of their characters in each of us; though, Fred and Carrie certainly exaggerate characters. (At least I hope they’re exaggerated.) One of the couples they portray – Peter and Nance – had me chuckling, as they are dead set on ensuring their food is local:

The chicken’s portfolio of information wasn’t enough for this couple. (Are you kidding?! The chicken had documentation!) Ultimately, before making a decision, the couple leaves the restaurant to get a firsthand look at the farm on which the chicken was raised. Nance and Peter’s underlying sentiment of wanting their choices to have a positive impact is not all that different from many of us. In fact, Communispace’s whitepaper on local commerce, found that many people purchase locally-made products to fulfill a desire to connect with their community, as well as because of their altruistic desire to do good. In the case of Peter and Nance, however, the way they go about it is exaggerated. (I hope.)

Another vignette features two designers who encourage others to “put a bird on it” to make everyday items more beautiful. As a result, I can’t stop noticing the birds featured throughout my wardrobe and accessories. In fact, I would be surprised if you looked around your closet or kids’ things and didn’t find a bird. They’re everywhere!

Then, there’s the set of friends who try to outcompete each other regarding the articles and books they’ve read; though the one thing they don’t read ultimately leads to their demise. I think it goes without saying that we all know someone who’s a “one-upper.”

For me, Portlandia isn’t about Portland, but rather the humor that infuses everyday life and its characters. While Portlandia only has a few episodes left, I relish breaking my self-imposed technology loop to laugh. Cacao.

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