Springfield to Portlandia

From Springfield to Portlandia…

I love my hometown, Portland. I want people to know about what a great–if a little strange–place it is. I grew up there, in fact I am fifth generation–a relatively hard feat for such a young city. I can’t really go anywhere in the city without some sort of personal memory flooding back. But in some ways the city no longer feels like mine. I have watched Portland transform from a normal working class American city, where Matt Groening the creator of the Simpsons grew up, to the city that defines young liberal progressivism in America today. Now there is even a national TV show, a comedy staring Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armison, and Carrie Brownstein of the 90s Riot Grrrrl Band Slater Kinny.  In the show the actual former mayor of Portland, Sam Adams, plays an intern.  I admit as much as I love the city and all my friends who have come to live there, I have some mixed feelings about what it has become today.

Still it is my hometown and one could do a lot worse. If only it didn’t rain 9 months of the year…

Speaking of the national TV show, Portlandia, not only are most of these sketches hilarious. I have found that many of these clips have been great for my teaching English as a Second Language classes.  My students are very interested in what life is like in the United States, and through their personal connection with me, Portland. These clips really show the culture, and the language is usually not that complicated.  Also it doesn’t hurt that many sketches contain great physical comedy–which is very helpful in language teaching.

But of course the greatest show to come out of Portland is, of course, The Simpsons. The show is incredibly popular throughout the world and is still going strong after 20 years.  Ever since I started traveling way back when I have been telling people all sorts of Portland Simpson’s facts, e.g. that the characters were named after Portland Streets, the similarity with Portland landmarks, etc. But it wasn’t until recently that this sad news came out that this became much easier.  RIP, Marge, RIP.

Update: This great interview with Matt Groening clarifies quite a bit about the Portalnd orgin of the Simpsons.

Banksy’s take on the classic opening.

And more on Portlandia…

The Dream of the 90’s is Alive!

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