On "Cat Nap," this week's episode of Portlandia, Fred and Carrie turned in another consistently hilarious installment of their hipster-skewering series, which has been on a roll for the past six weeks. While each sketch in "Cat Nap" hit from beginning to end, the episode's targets veered into topical territory (which is kind of unusual for the show) making the episode unlikely to have a long shelf life. While poking fun at Kickstarter and Pitchfork is de rigueur in most hipster-comedy circles, Fred and Carrie tackled these easy targets creatively. But in beyond 2012, will those sketches still garner laughs?
But because of the topical gags, Portlandia will almost certainly be a really bizarre time capsule to look at a few years from now. It will be especially fun to watch because of the parade of cameos in each episode, which give the show a "Laugh-In for the 21st-century" feel. This week's cold open was a fantastically edited bit guest-starring Miranda July as the co-owner (with Carrie) of a store called Two Girls, Two Shirts that, yes, only has two shirts for sale. Amber Tamblyn popped up in a Women and Women First Bookstore sketch and Kristen Wiig guest starred in the episode's title sketch and runner. The runner not only roasted Pitchfork, but it also jabbed at the current superficial indie-music hype machine, in which all you need is a gimmick and a SoundCloud account to blow up. Wiig steals the scene (no surprise there) as "Gathy" a deranged fan, a la Kathy Bates in Misery, who takes her favorite indie band hostage.
The sketch that hit hardest in "Cat Nap" was a song performed by Carrie called, "She's Making Jewelry Now." In the bit, Fred asks Carrie what her sister is doing these days, and she responds by launching into the song. Even though he's relegated to the background in the sketch, Fred still manages to pull focus with his repeated over-enunciation of the word "Yeah!" throughout the bit. The song is credited to Fred and Carrie, and makes me believe that Portlandia: The Album is a welcome inevitability. After all, just last week, IFC announced that Portlandia: The Book hits bookstores in November. With their staggering creative output, it's not a bad thing that Fred and Carrie are occasionally dabbling in topical jokes; they're just firmly establishing Portlandia as the sketch-comedy voice of the 2010s.
Watch Portlandia's "Cat Nap" on iTunes here!