The dream of the '90s continues to thrive on Portlandia, the sketch comedy series from Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein that's back for a third season on IFC (Fridays 10/9c). Armisen has spent the past 11 years as a member of the Saturday Night Live ensemble, while Brownstein is best known as a member of indie rock groups Sleater-Kinney and Wild Flag. But during their off months, the comedy partners have created a whole new world of quirky characters, from militant bike messengers to feminist bookstore owners. Armisen answered our showrunner survey to explain why you should make a visit to Portlandia.
TV Guide Magazine: I've got room in my life to watch just one more show. Tell me why it should be yours.
Fred Armisen: Because it's a window into another world and it's dreamy and full of characters and music. And it will make you feel a little drunk.
TV Guide Magazine: Who should be watching?
Armisen: My real answer is everybody. You would think that it's just people who live in art communities. I've met all kinds of people who are into the show, and I get satisfaction from that.
TV Guide Magazine: What happens if we don't watch your show?
Armisen: You and I as friends become estranged. And then we're not keeping in touch with each other. I want to keep in touch with you.
TV Guide Magazine: Give us an equation for your show.
Armisen: The Monkees plus Portland divided by Flight of the Conchords times Nichols and May plus The Clash plus David Bowie equals Portlandia.
TV Guide Magazine: What's the best thing anyone has said or written about your show?
Armisen: One time I was on the subway and had my headphones on. A girl tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a sheet of paper on which she had written, "Thunderant saved my life." (Thunderant was the online precursor to Portlandia.)
TV Guide Magazine: What's the worst thing?
Armisen: If anyone every said anything about our show I consider it a great thing, no matter what they say. If they're talking about the show, great.
TV Guide Magazine: What's an alternate title for your show?
Armisen: Thunderegg (the official Oregon state rock), Made In Oregon or Pleased to Meet Me
TV Guide Magazine: Come up with a premise for the spin-off.
Armisen: We do the animated stop-motion segments Zero Rats. That would be a fun spinoff.
TV Guide Magazine: Have you guys talked about doing that for real?
TV Guide Magazine: What credit of yours would you prefer we forget?
Armisen: It's all important. Even if I didn't enjoy it, it got me to where I am. And you never know, people will say something to me about things I had forgotten about.
TV Guide Magazine: Tell us an idea that didn't make it on to the screen.
Armisen: There are so many that we actually filmed that we could not get an angle on. We shot a whole thing about an artisan popcorn stand at a movie theater, but we couldn't make it work.
TV Guide Magazine: Finish this sentence: "If you like _______, you'll love our show."
TV Guide Magazine: Pick a show, any show, to start a fake feud with.
Armisen: Eyewitness News. We have so much issue with Eyewitness News. The graphics and some of the sound mix, we have issues.
TV Guide Magazine: What other show would you like to do a cross-over episode with — and how would that go?
Armisen: Parks and Recreation would be cool. Since they're both fictional characters and in present day, that would be great. Pawnee is fictional and "Portlandia" the city is kind of fictional.
TV Guide Magazine: How do they treat you in Portland?
Armisen: They seem appreciative, and they're the sweetest people. I don't come from there, but I get to spend my summers there and they really make me feel at home.
TV Guide Magazine: Give us three things to look forward to in Season 3.
Armisen: 1. Chloe Sevigny. 2. We get to know our characters a little more, we go deeper. 3. We're going to revisit MTV. [The channel's Kurt Loder, Tabitha Soren and Matt Pinfield will guest star.]