Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Column on Portlandia as Slacker Therapy

I wrote about Portlandia for the Baffler Blog. I'm a fan of the show, and I think it's interesting to think about how it satirizes its own audience, to some extent. It's a short piece, but here's a quick excerpt anyway:

In the late 1980s, ABC’s Thirtysomething turned Yuppie Baby-Boomers’ struggles with marriage and parenting, and their hand-wringing over how they’d compromised their 1960s ideals, into primetime melodrama. Portlandia, which airs its season finale tonight, is the Gen-X analogue, gently satirizing the cultural pretensions and political preoccupations of its audience throughout its four-season (and Peabody award-winning) run. This “slackersomething” satire is therapeutic to its audience at home; it works less to directly criticize or promote change than to help the audience “work through” what they’ve become.

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