#84 TV Shows Set in Portland

When I first heard that a TNT show called “Leverage” was filming in Portland, I was super duper excited. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Wire” all do a great job of capturing and depicting the pulse of the city they are filmed in. After watching the first episode of season two, I was a little disappointed to find our city is actually supposed to be a representation of Boston. The opening scene of Season 2 shows a car racing through “Boston’s” downtown area until it flips and lights on fire… in front of Mary’s Club.

Mary's Grand Opening!

Over the course of the next couple of seasons, the show would continue to highlight more of “Boston’s” metro area spots like Gilt Club, North Park Blocks and Big Pink. This made me wonder, “What other shows are set in Portland?” The garbage began to stack up.

Portlandia – Set and filmed in Portland. If you think this show is a perfect depiction of Portland, you might be right. If you think this show is one of the funniest shows on TV, you would definitely be wrong. Portlandia is a pile of diarrhea. I understand that Fred and Carrie are trying to poke fun at Portland through a series of sketches, but can you remember any that are actually funny? For those of you who say “Put a Bird On It” was hilarious, I ask you to think of how it ends. Now, go back and watch it. Yeah, not very funny.

Free Agents – Set in Portland. Two funny people acting in two unfunny character roles. The PR business is boring, dull and life sucking (like Aloha!). If it hasn’t been cancelled yet, it should be (like Aloha!).

Under Suscpision – Set and filmed in Portland. Cancelled after one season

Life Unexpected – Set in Portland. Cancelled

Nowhere Man – Set in Portland.  Cancelled after one season

Grimm – Set and filmed in Portland. Feels like NBC’s attempt to get into the Sci-Fi biz ala “X-Files”, “Fringe” and “Eureka”.  Their “pilot” episode is about a college student who is mysteriously attacked. HA! Pilot!

The only successful show I see coming from this city is a fictional, African American comedy about two rookies drafted by the Blazers in the early 00’s (may or may not be on CW). One is from a small town in Texas, where he was born with values and a God-fearing sense of decency. The other is from some ghetto on the East Coast who loooves marijuana. They get an apartment together. Its “the Odd Couple” meets “Weeds.” Comedy. Insanity. Ratings.

What would the name of that show be?

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13 Responses to “#84 TV Shows Set in Portland”


  1. 1 theeyeoffaith 07/26 at 12:29 pm

    We love Portland! Specially any show set there! We gotta say we Love Portlandia!

    The Eye
    http://theeyeoffaith.com

  2. 2 1adesign 04/14 at 12:54 am

    Portlandia is funny, though at times the sketches can be a bit disappointing, i still love it. I live in Seattle if that has anything to do with it. The “Everything Plan” sketch is great, as well as “Outdoor Movie”. I wouldn’t say it’s HILARIOUS, but I watched every episode of it, marathon style, when i found it. The opening sequence track (Washed Out – Feel It All Around) is great as well.

  3. 3 Forte101 03/20 at 3:57 pm

    Portlandia is not funny. It is gross but it does reflect Portland’s grimy ethos.

    Grimm OTOH portrays Portlanders as demons and devils and gnomes and the like. Now that is funny and quite an accurate depiction.

  4. 4 zumpie 03/18 at 1:54 pm

    I find Portlandia just beyond annoying and soooooo super stupid. Much like its big cousin, SNL, all it really is a bunch of ad-libbed one joke sketches that Fred and Carrie find funny because they’re probably stoned to the gills. Blech.

    It isn’t even a sensitive to my fair city being dissed thing. I’d love it if it were as funny as, say, this blog. It isn’t it’s dumb. Non-locals (unless they’re Armisen fans for some reason) don’t dig it either. My BFF still lives on the East Coast and has visited here just twice. She didn’t find it particularly accurate in any way, shape, size or form. We even both bag on PDX and she commented that it was an insult to our city.

    Grimm’s kinda meh to me–a procedural with hobgoblins that doesn’t even come off especially Portlandish, even if it IS filmed here. To date the most overall depiction of Portland (nad its culture) I’ve seen was Ramona and Beezus. And it turned out to have been filmed in Vancouver!

  5. 5 Kitten 03/15 at 9:39 am

    I agree that Portlandia isn’t funny, but maybe it’s because we live here. For example, a lot the kind of people depicted in shows like “King of the Hill” don’t think that show is funny, because they live it. Maybe it’s hilarious to people in other parts of the country, but then again, maybe not. Personally, I can’t bring myself to watch it.

  6. 6 a.grey 01/08 at 8:11 pm

    until portlandia starts doing sketches on gresham tweakers, it gets the thumbs down from me.

    i kinda like grimm, regardless of it being set in the area… kinda easy pill to swallow kinda show. good background noise while i troll ebay.

  7. 7 L. Wollam 01/08 at 7:29 pm

    I wanted to like “Portlandia” but it is a piece of shit. See, comedies are supposed to be funny. But their self-satisfaction and condesceding smugness overwhelms the whole show. Plus they can’t even pronounce “Willamette.”

  8. 8 Kellen 11/30 at 7:02 pm

    I was about to post about Perfect Couples but you beat me to it. I believe the dude wears a Beavers shirt in one episode as well… I didn’t notice the connection until I saw an OR license plate in a throwaway exterior shot.

  9. 9 Paul Johnson 10/14 at 5:39 am

    Portlandia itself might as well be called “Things About Portland That Suck: The TV Series”

  10. 10 Mitch 10/10 at 2:52 pm

    So wrong on Portlandia. So wrong.

    • 11 Da Horsey, SmartyJones 01/01 at 1:44 pm

      You are so right that this place is so wrong about Portlandia.
      Tell me the feminist book store with Heather Graham isn’t funny?
      I double dare you.

  11. 12 Ryan Thompson 10/05 at 11:26 am

    Under Suspicion and Nowhere Man apparently got pretty good reviews, but yeah, as we learned with Arrested Development, no matter how good reviews are it doesn’t keep a show on the air. In A.D.’s case, which is very, very rare (Family Guy and Smothers Brothers are the only examples I can think of), its actually coming back, apparently.

    Portlandia’s sketches with the giggling “Japanese” girls in the coffee shop and Fred Armisen as the militant-to-a-fault bicyclist made me laugh.

    • 13 Sylke Neal-Finnegan 10/05 at 9:24 pm

      You forgot another doomed, craptastic show set in Portland: last season’s Perfect Couples, which aired on NBC. Like Free Agents, it’s set in Portland, but actually filmed in L.A. However, at least Free Agents tries to pretend it’s Portland; Perfect Couples had absolutely NO connection to Portland, other than a random mention of the Blazers.


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