As my move to Portland drew near, everyone asked if I watched Portlandia. I had seen it, but it seemed too satirical to give me a sense of the real place. Upon moving here, I realized, it was less satire than I thought. I found myself chuckling when I saw something happen that reminded me of an episode. Even so, Portlandia wasn’t for me. I craved other shows filmed in Portland.
While I lived in Chicago, I watched more than one show simply because it was shot in Chicago. I loved to see familiar locations or point out fake ones, looking at you ER. This year, I got my wish of some new, locally shot, Portland shows that are entertaining and have Portland references and locations for interactive viewing.
This one is especially fun for me because it has no shortage of scenes in Portland coffee shops. Since I make a habit of touring coffee shops with my friend Erin* it’s provided endless opportunities to mumble names of coffee spots until I land on the correct one then rewind to actually watch the scene. There are stickers in the lockers from Sizzle Pie and Voodoo coffee cups. The authentic Portland references are endless and so much fun to spot.
Everything Sucks is set in 1990’s Boring, Oregon. It’s full of after school special flair mixed with American Pie awkwardness. In one scene the characters discuss how everyone stops to take a picture by the Welcome the Boring sign but nobody actually drives into town. As I drove up to the mountain to do some skiing recently I felt the urge to actually drive into Boring. The music consumed via diskman and 90’s fashion are an amazing throwback. Oregon references are there from the state flag to the sadly painted Mt. Hood behind the high school news desk and the $4.75 Oregon minimum wage sign.
The Perfectionists is a spinoff of Pretty Little Liars. The show is set in Seattle but was being shot in Portland recently. How do I know this? The Craft Service people were in line in front of me at Coco’s buying up all the donuts. The pilot is set to air in 2019 and I will probably feel the need to watch it with a Coco’s lavender glazed in hand.
*I’d change her name if she were innocent