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Friday Funny: Portlandia Is Over

It's a sad day. Portlandia will no longer skewer the idiosyncrasies of enlightened urban lifestyles.
March 23, 2018, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Tony Webster

The final episode of Portlandia aired on March 22, bringing an end to a show dear to the heart of many fans of Portland, the Pacific Northwest, the West Coast, and even, we daresay, the United States.

Fittingly, given the show's popularity among urbanists, the final episode included a couple of urbanism-themed jokes in its final go-around. In the continuing plotline of the final episode, the mayor of Portland (in a recurring role played by Kyle MacLachlan) is trying to design a rose-shaped marathon route in honor of the Rose City. The problem is what kind of deals the mayor has to make to get to achieve his dream of designing the marathon route like a rose. In a "a quid pro quo situation" the mayor is asked to revoke support for a condo development in exchange for shutting down a few streets for the marathon.

"They're building this monstrosity right in our backyard," says a NIMBY to the mayor. (The "monstrosity" definitely looks like it would check all the boxes on a form-based code.) The Condo development is called The Coop (which is hopefully a reference to MacLachlan's character in another Pacific Northwest classic, Twin Peaks) and the promotional material says its "Built on the Former Sight [sic] of Food Carts." Another group of NIMBYs barters to stop a different development, the "PDX Condos: The Millennial Collection," because it will cost a lot of brunch business. Another group asks for tickets to a Blazers game and an end to "The Portland" condo development. By the end of the scene the mayor is just rubber stamping condo obstruction to benefit the self interest of NIMBYs.

The whole thing could be chalked up as fairly brief satire on the smug self-righteousness of NIMBYs, until the end of the show when the mayor directly responds to an obstructionist by saying, "I just want what's best for this city. Didn't you once want that, too?"

If you're feeling like the best part of Portlandia is definitely not going home, here's a synopsis of the entire final episode, a tour of 21 of the filming locations for the show, and a list of the best sketches from the history of the show. Don't forget to put a bird on it.

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Published on Thursday, March 22, 2018 in The Oregonian
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