Portlandia—Season 3

portlandia season 3 poster episode guide
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Still fun sketch comedy

Not for everyone


Always weird…always fun!

Welcome back to Portland!  Things are changing for Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen as they explore their wonderful world.  The Mayor (Kyle MacLachlan) faces a crisis and the city is forced to get a temp (Roseanne Barr).  Carrie and Fred also get a new roommate in a Seattle transplant named Alexandra (Chloë Sevigny) who could interject some life into both their lives…but change them forever.  Carrie and Fred are joined by the others of Portland where even the rats have an opinion…and remember be careful about your milk choices!


Will Jack White come to Portland?

Portlandia—Season 3 aired from December 14, 2012 to March 1, 2013 on IFC.  The series popularity continues to grow and receives positive reviews from critics.  The series won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Costumes for a Variety Program or Special (“Blackout”) and was nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series (“Alexandra”) and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series.

I love Portlandia.  It is a rather niche comedy that won’t connect to everyone.  While one person might watch a sketch and laugh through the whole thing, I can understand if you can watch and don’t laugh at all.  What is interesting about this sketch comedy is that there are continuing characters, continuing storylines, and over the course of the season, they have a few themes.


I hate all of you!!!

This season finds Kyle MacLachlan returning as the Mayor, and he plays a bigger role.  It is fun to see Rosanne stepping in for him (when he quits), but of course, all is restored during the season finale.  The season also adds the foil of Alexandra played by Chloë Sevigny.  For much of the season, she’s only seen in small cutaways, but she eventually splits up Carrie and Fred…I like Chloë because she always makes strange choices in shows, and Portlandia is a perfect fit in that perspective.

I felt that this season was a step back-up to a more rounded and solid show.  Portlandia—Season 1 was great but I felt Portlandia—Season 2 faltered a bit.  I hope that Portlandia continues to have a long solid life and as long as the quality keeps up, I will keep on visiting.

Portlandia—Season 3 Complete Episode Guide:


“Winter Special”

3.1       Winter in Portlandia Airdate:  12/14/12

It is winter and the sun seekers of Portland look for any sun they can find.  Peter and Nance discover his pasta diet is making them fat and decide to eliminate it, but Peter isn’t ready for it.  The Women and Women First women Candace and Toni have a visit from Candice’s son and his new child…but refuse to learn the child’s gender.  It is nap time at the office after a heavy lunch.  Bryce Shivers and Lisa Eversman advertise their winter escape.  Stu’s Stews struggles to find customers. A new studio opens with dreams of recreating Pet Sound…and a visit by Jack White.



“Take Back MTV”

3.2       Take Back MTV Airdate:  01/04/13

The youth of Portland seek to change the world one party at a time!  Spike gets a TV for the first time and learns that the MTV he loved is gone…vowing to get it back with Iris.  Sandra goes to meditation and finds a new potential love.  Alicia and her boss Royce promote the benefits of zucchini milk.  Spike and Iris gather Kurt Loder, Matt Pinfield, and Tabitha Soren to get MTV and head to Manhattan.  Malcolm and Kris go a meeting to discuss the renaming of 15th Avenue.  Dave and Kath demonstrate their new tent.



3.3       Missionaries Airdate:  01/04/13

Mother’s Sun Deodorant…takes out what works.  The Mayor (Kyle MacLachlan) meets with Carrie and Fred and questions how to battle Seattle’s marketing and decide to try to get some of Seattle’s population.  A pedicab driver tries to get riders for his pedicab.  Royce and Alicia set to sell berry seed milk after the failure of zucchini milk.  Peter and Nance decide to open a bed & breakfast and turn to the doily shop owner (Jeff Goldblum) for help.  A group gathers to discuss the popular movies and TV but find that the spoilers could ruin everything.  Women and Women First get a negative Yelp review and suspect all their customers…only to learn it is Martina Navratilova.  Carrie and Fred’s trip to Seattle finds a recruit in Alexandra (Chloë Sevigny).


“Nina’s Birthday”

3.4       Nina’s Birthday Airdate:  01/11/13

Nina gets excited as her birthday approaches…Lance doesn’t share her enthusiasm.  Thor83 (Patton Oswalt) works on funny email replies.  Royce and Alicia stop recommending berry seed milk and recommend raw milk. A couple (Mike O’Brien and Maria Thayer) question how to fund their birthday attendance and decide to get a birthday loan.  Dave and Kath head back from Europe for the party and bring Spain to Nina’s party.



3.5       Squiggleman Airdate:  01/18/13

Brian (Ryver Hankins) defends being a true nerd.  Brendan and Michelle team-up with another couple to make music for kids as Defiance of Anthropomorphic Sea Mammals.  Malcolm and Kris go to a new raw restaurant but find that the food causes  a bit of gas…which introduces them to a new area of the restaurant.  Royce and Alicia pass on the raw cow milk and promote cashew milk.  Women and Women First celebrate a new comedy section, and Candace uses her stand-up routine to target Toni and leads to retaliation.  Defiance of Anthropomorphic Sea Mammals opens for Squiggleman (Matt Berry) with limited success, and Brendan and Michelle go to Squiggleman’s school for children.  Carrie brings Trey home for the night but ends up involved in drama of Darcy (Juliette Lewis) and Trey.


“Off the Grid”

3.6       Off the Grid Airdate:  01/25/13

Marcus and Madeline Harris help Portland ban the plastic bag much to the sea life’s resentment.  The Mayor goes to Carrie and Fred for help in banning more things, but learns that Portland Tribune columnist George Heely (George Wendt) is writing a piece on him being an electricity worker.  Battle of the Gentle Band kicks off and tries not to hurt the environment with their music.  Alicia and Royce reveal that cashew milk is from an area of unrest and recommend radish milk.  The Portland Tribune is overtaken by an online bloggers and now they have to write in five word stories with eyes on the commenter.  Nance and Peter face an inspector for their bed and breakfast.  A couple headed for California find a missing cat flyer and set out to find Choo-Choo.  Fred and Carrie find the mayor’s source of the Mayor’s energy consumption, and the Mayor is forced to step down for a new mayor (Roseanne Barr).



“The Temp”

3.7       The Temp Airdate:  02/01/13

A wedding is forced to shut down a wedding when it seems too gay.  The temp agency sets up a new mayor and Carrie and Fred take her around the town.  The baristas and coffee venders of Portland gather to form a manifesto but tempers rise.  Alicia and Royce recommend not drinking milk as Alicia gets a promotion.  Kath and Dave decision to eat outside leads to a crisis with the sun.  Joaquin continues to “take off” from his band meeting for mysterious gathering and reveals a horrible secret that could change them forever.  The rats find a book about them and learn that they aren’t wanted leading to a retaliation book.  When the new Mayor finds the city is too weird, she begins to make changes to modernize Portland…and Carrie and Fred must step in.


“Soft Open”

3.8       Soft Opening Airdate:  02/08/13

A boy creates a Rube Goldberg machine but faces his brother.  Peter and Nance have their soft opening for their Quilted Tea Kettle Inn and Donald (Jim Gaffigan) and Stu (Matt Lucas) of Stu’s Stews and Ronald D. Moore (Henry Cottrell) and his wife take advantage of it.  Caleb quits his job to make furniture to everyone’s delight and makes the cover of Portland Monthly’s Man issue.  Royce and Alicia bring milk back and promote cookie milk.  Peter and Nance spend the night making towel animals and find themselves making up for promises in their brochure.  Captain D. D. Cumulus and Lady Opal Nightstream host the gathering of the Steampunks of Seattle and plan to rescue Susan from a Fan Fiction critique.  Fred decides to take a trip to Italy and invites his new girlfriend (Rose Byrne).



3.9       Alexandra Airdate: 02/15/13

Living art projects invades Portland, and Carrie and Fred find themselves caught up in the crisis.  Alexandra continues to live with Fred and Carrie, and Fred and Carrie question if she is right for them.  The movie theater experiments with serving artisan movie food.  Royce and Alicia switch from cookie milk to octopus milk to help Royce’s relationship.  Phil and Gigi help Ted spice up his desk with Japanese toys.  Carrie and Fred find they are both into Alexandra and dating her.  Kath and Dave find cats menaced by coyotes and fighting back…until a dream inspires them to a different route.  Kathleen and Lars show the Lucky Seven House as part of the Portland Punk House Tour.



3.10     No-Fo-O-Fo-Bridge Airdate:  02/22/13

New parents try to find a way to deal with their crying child by looking up books on the subject.  The rats have a hard time finding food as people live cleaner and debate moving.  A couple heading to a movie and find themselves having to climb to the top theater with fears of missing the movie.  Royce and Alicia skip octopus milk for water milk…but reckless promotions could lead to legal problems.  Alexandra and Carrie go out to a communal restaurant but find themselves suffering relationship problems…which could cause Carrie to make a big change.    Mr. Santos tries to reach struggling students but find his students reaching out to him.



3.11     Blackout Airdate:  03/01/13

The lack of a mayor is finally catching up to Portland, and strange things are happening to the animals of Portland.  When the power bill for the city goes unpaid for months, the city is faced with a massive blackout.  Peter and Nance try to keep their guests at the bed & breakfast calm but find Birdman (Bill Hader) offering advice about what to do.  Toni and Candace worry about people looting Women and Women First but find that the candle light has an effect on their appearances.  The blackout effect Royce and Alicia’s work and try to still continue to promote milk.  Kath and Dave find themselves trying to prepare for an apocalypse without power.  Fred and Carrie learn about the power crisis and set out to get the Mayor back.

Related Links:

Portlandia—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Portlandia—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Portlandia—Season 4 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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