Theme song Thursday: The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland

The theme song to IFC’s show “Portlandia” is a comedy bit in itself. It’s all about an era that anyone who’s lived through will remember (with fondness or disdain). The show’s a satire created by SNL’s Fred Armisen and band Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein. It’s produced by SNL mastermind Lorne Michaels and co-written by Allison Silverman, a writer for the “The Daily Show.”

“Portlandia” touts cameos from SNL’s Jason Sudeikis, Steve Buscemi, Heather Graham, Selma Blair, Aubrey Plaza (from “Parks and Recreation”), musician Aimee Mann, Sarah McLachlan, Colin Meloy of The Decembrists, director Gus Van Sant and Kyle MacLachlan has a recurring role as Portland’s mayor, and in one episode, Portland’s real mayor, Sam Adams, plays his assistant.

All of these elements make for a hilarious TV show, and they needed to create a theme song that could keep up …. they succeeded.


The theme is part song, part conversation. Armisen’s character lists off the wonders of Portland with cuts to him walking down its streets with Portland’s residents in tow. (Oh, so 90’s.) Here’s the breakdown.


Do you remember the 90’s, people were talking about getting piercings and tribal tattoos, people were singing about saving the planet and forming bands. There’s a place where that idea still exists as a reality and I’ve been there.

The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland
The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland
The tattoo ink never runs dry.

Remember when people were content to be unambitious, sleep til 11 and hang out with their friends. You had no occupation whatsoever, you’d be working a couple hours a week at a coffee shop. Portland’s a city where young people go to retire.

The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland
All the hot girls wear glasses — yeah!

Remember the 90s when they encouraged you to be weird, it was just an amazing time. You could grow up to wanna be a clown, like people went to clown school.

The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland
Sleep til 11, you’ll be in heaven
The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland
The dream is a-liii-ve.

So what I can surmise from what you’re positing, it’s like Portland’s an alternative universe. It’s like Gore won. The Bush administration never happened. In Portland’s, it’s almost like cars don’t exist. People ride bikes or double-decker bikes or unicycles.

The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland
My flannel shirt still looks fly
The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland
Turn that dirty clown frown, right upside down

In Portland, you can go to a record store and sell your CDs. You could put a bird on something and call it art.

The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland
The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland, Portland, Portland.


I’ve heard the how described as one that makes fun of “hipsters,” and here’s one negative review:

Brian Lowry noted the show was “clearly on a shoestring budget”, and said it featured an “array of tiresome characters” that provided “further proof not everyone deserves a sketch comedy showcase — especially when the premise cuts no deeper than vignettes inspired by the wheat-germy, hippie-ish environs of Portland, Ore.”

But I disagree. If you’re down with satire and you like sketch comedy, this show’s for you. And the theme song is just another testament to the caliber of humor the writers and actors bring.

Here’s Portlandia’s website.

According to Wikipedia, Portlandia’s theme song is “Feel it All Around,” by Washed Out, but that’s just the tune that accompanies the credits.

Theme Song Thursday is a weekly look back at memorable, not-so-influential, nostalgia-inducing theme songs by the Herald’s Melinda Lavine and Ryan Johnson. Click  here to read previous entries, and feel free to share!

When Harry Met Sally part deux

The guys who brought you ANCHORMAN and TALLADEGA NIGHTS have now made a sequel to WHEN HARRY MET SALLY…in the form of a webisode on The web video, that was released today, takes the classic romantic comedy and gives it a TWILIGHT twist.

The video has cameos from Rob Reiner (director of WHEN HARRY MET SALLY), Hellen Mirren, Rob Riggle (correspondent for THE DAILY SHOW) and Maya Rudolph (SNL veteran). Click here to watch it. (Note: It takes a comedically gruesome turn.) Click here to read the news story.


Here’s one of the best rom-com quotes of all time (aside from “I’ll have what she’s having.”):

I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.