When IFC announced that Saturday Night Live alum Fred Armisen would be joining rock star Carrie Brownstein for a sketch comedy series about the city of Portland, I would never have guessed that it would become one of the most assured and absurd comedies on cable. After seven seasons, Portlandia has introduced some hilarious characters, but is calling it quits before the show runs out of steam. So when Portlandia returns for Season 8, it will be bittersweet, as it marks the beginning of the series' final run.
In January, Variety reported that the eighth and final season of Portlandia will premiere in 2018. Though the report did not give not more specific date information, since the last three seasons premiered in January, it's very likely that Season 8 will do the same. It's really the end of an era. Portlandia first premiered in 2011, spending the last seven seasons bringing attention to the hilarity of the Pacific Northwest and all of its weirdness. No show has been able to better take on everything from sustainable vegan eateries to bicycling trends.
But beyond simply parodying everything about hipster life and West Coast hippies, Portlandia has collected a group of characters that have become lovable, and who will be missed now that the show is coming to an end after just one more season. Here are just some of the reasons why Portlandia will be missed once it goes off the air next year.
Its Gen X-Ness
Between Armisen (50) and Brownstein (42), the series has a definite Generation X point of view. They're the generation stereotyped as being obsessed with authentic music and trapped between being totally broke and total sellouts. It's generated a lot of humor over the last seven seasons.
This may seem basic, since it's, you know, in the title, but how often to you see a series that's set outside of New York, LA, or occasionally, Chicago? I think in some ways, Portlandia has paved the way for other regionally specific comedies like Detroiters.
Between Portlandia and Twin Peaks, Kyle MacLachlan is basically Pacific Northwest royalty. And the mayor is one of the show's best creations, especially once it was revealed that every other city's mayor is played by MacLachlan, too.
The Elaborate Event Episodes
These were often less funny, but incredibly impressive structurally. For a sketch comedy show, Portlandia manages to work in a half-dozen characters, all played by Armisen and Brownstein, of course, that make these episodes truly stand out.
The Musical Chops
Coachella by drone, True Detective opening credits spoofs, and lots of rock stars — having two musicians at the center was deeply formative to the series. Portlandia's music is the best comedy music in the game, by far.
The commercials were another standout. From dining trends to all-natural anything, Portlandia perfectly skewered pretty much any trend hipsters fell in love with over the course of the last few years.
The Sly Message
While the series rarely addresses issues head-on, everything from performative white feminism to hashtag activism has been the subtext of different sketches. Portlandia hasn't always succeeded — it alienated the feminist bookstore that it filmed in over the years — but most of the time, it managed to land on the right side.
These are only some of the reasons why Portlandia will be so missed after the eighth season brings it to an end in 2018. It's already a comedy classic.