I had an ulterior motive for seeking out last night's episode, by driving over to the Mission Theater and Pub (where I happily took part in 2007's "Firefly at the Mission" screenings, like this one) for its free showing of the show at 7:00 -- thank you, East Coast feed -- and that ulterior motive was that I and people I know and like were in it.
Blurrily, but there:
That's a screen capture my friend Andrew Hill got from the show: a Trek in the Park performance just before it gets rudely interrupted by the cops. I'm in the upper left of the shot, in the front row and near the left-hand (north side) end of the audience, in a red T-shirt. I'm still a little surprised that my sitting next to several very attractive women, including one who's a burlesque dancer, didn't get my side of the audience a better shot. Maybe my performance stank. Oh well. They got what they paid for.
Other good people I know -- Steph Castro, Ryan Reid, Mikey Nielson of Chronicles of the Nerds, and of course the Atomic Arts actors who star in Trek in the Park -- show up more prominently in the bit, which sets up a plotline where Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein convince mayor Kyle MacLachlan to "soften" the image of the Portland PD. That's what I got out early that last hot summer weekend in September of last year, under about three layers of sunblock, to do.
I had plenty of fun with the episode (Episode 5) beyond spotting people. "The Dream of the 1890s" is, I think, inspired, especially in how seriously it's played. One sketch is built around a married couple's fear not that their child will grow up dumb, but will grow up to have mediocre taste in music (!). In another bit, the bad kind of coffee house art finally got explained. Unexpected stop-motion animation was unexpected, and gave us a different breed of Portland hipster (not the funniest bit, but I liked mixing up the style). And how did I forget how funny Kyle MacLachlan is? It's been too long since I've seen him do something funny (I haven't seen more than a few sketches from Portlandia Season 1). And yes, Portland really feels like a small town where the "Do you know..." bit could actually happen. Truth! Funny truth!