Portlandia—Season 4

portlandia season 4 poster episode guide
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun sketch comedy

Probably not many fair-weather fans

portlandia season 4 dog adoption carrie brownstein fred armisen

Please adopt this award winning affenpinscher

Portland is always weird and staying weird is the hope of the people there.  From the commitment of sharing a banking account to rising rent prices, Portland is threatening to change.  Women fight for the rights of cheerleaders, and a single 3D printer could save the city’s finances.  Carrie and Fred and their friends are still exploring the city and hoping Portland will always be weird…and a trip to New Beavertown proves danger lurks in every corner!

Portlandia—Season 4 aired on IFC from February 27, 2014 to May 1, 2014.  The show was nominated for Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Armisen), Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series (“Getting Away”), Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Buscemi), Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, Outstanding Art Direction for Variety, Nonfiction, Reality or Reality-Competition Program (“Celery”, “Sharing Finances”, “3D Printer”), and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series (“Getting Away”).

portlandia season 4 episode 3 celery steve buscemi

The hard life of a celery salesman…

I stepped away from Portlandia for a bit after Portlandia—Season 3…but I decided to go back.  The quick, fun sketch show continues to prove that it is an easy watch.  Like many sketch comedy shows, the comedy doesn’t always work, but Portlandia seems to hold up better than many.

Portlandia has a strange approach to sketch comedy that harkens back more to old series like Carol Burnett.  Lots of characters return, and lots of characters have stories and development.  By this season you know a lot of the players (all generally played by Armisen and Brownstein).  This knowledge of the characters keeps from having much set-up and allows the jokes to flow easier.

Brownstein and Armisen really do make the series.  The danger in two leads playing characters is that eventually some characters become “breakout” characters (like Toni and Candace) so other characters feel like they aren’t as developed or are kind of floundering (I never found Dave and Kath different enough from Peter and Nance to make them worth having their own storylines)…still the series is fun.

portlandia season 4 episode 1 sharing finances back to the future fred armisen

No need to go back in time…Portland’s already there!

Portlandia also brings in lots of actors and musicians for cameos and guest stories.  This season features appearances by Kirsten Dunst, Vanessa Bayer, Kumail Nanjiani, Olivia Wilde, Jeff Goldblum, Jello Biafra, Silas Weir Mitchell, St. Vincent, Duff McKagan, Mark Proksch, Jeff Tweedy, Maya Rudolph, the Portland Trail Blazers, Gus Van Sant, Josh Homme, Nick Swardson, Ed Begley Jr., Michael Nesmith, Jason Sudekis, and k.d. lang.  Steve Buscemi has probably the most prominent guest appearance (besides the always funny regular Kyle MacLachlan) as a celery man caught up in the dark underworld of vegetable sales.

Portlandia continues to be fun, but it is also somewhat niche humor.  If you like Portlandia, you will continue to like Portlandia, but this season doesn’t do anything new or different to “win” new viewers…but it also doesn’t really need to.  With the continuing popularity and solid writing, Portland and Portlandia have staying power.

Portlandia—Season 4 Complete Episode Guide:

portlandia season 4 episode 1 sharing finances kirsten dunst fred armisen carrie brownstein

“Sharing Finances”

4.1       Sharing Finances Airdate:  02/27/14

A girl named Kim (Kirsten Dunst) finds housesitting for her aunt’s home could be more than she ever expected when she discovers the house is haunted.  Claire (Carrie Brownstein) and Doug (Fred Armisen) take a big step in their relationship.  Kath and Dave find fifteen minute parking means a rushed downtown visit.  Fred goes on a date, and the Date Fact Checker (Kumail Nanjiani) is out to see if Fred’s being honest.  Inspirational signs attracts an admirer in Sandra.

portlandia season 4 episode 2 ecoterrorists fred armisen carrie brownstein


4.2       Ecoterrorists Airdate:  03/06/14

Bryce Shivers and Lisa Eversman set up a new rental business.  Animal rights activists set out to stop animal testing but find that they must rethink their strategy.  Kath and Dave find that Kath’s insomnia could be killing her.  High housing costs lead to extra roommates at a flat.  Candace and Toni realize they have to make rent and set-up a carwash.  Fred realizes he missed the hip-hop movement, and Carrie agrees to educate him.

portlandia season 4 episode 3 celery jeff goldblum beets


4.3       Celery Airdate:  03/13/14

9-11 dispatchers deal with emergency food calls as beets make a rise in popularity.  Marty (Steve Buscemi) finds his sales of celery are down and tries to get his sales up.  The Order Grill opens with a new concept of eating.  Carrie decides she has to declare social bankruptcy but finds that it has consequences.  A business man joins the world of begging.

portlandia season 4 episode 4 pull out king nina lance carrie brownstein fred armisen

“Pull Out King”

4.4       Pull-Out King Airdate:  03/20/14

A man wakes up from a coma and discovers things have changed since the ’80s.  Nina reveals to Lance that she thinks that she could be pregnant, but Lance reveals he’s the pull-out king…but there is a new king (Jeff Goldblum).  Tailgaters get excited for A Prairie Home Companion.  James finds that he waited a bit too long on a birth congratulations.  Carrie is dating a financial consultant.

portlandia season 4 episode 5 spyke drives fred armisen

“Spyke Drives”

4.5       Spyke Drives Airdate:  03/27/14

Peter is forced to drive when Nance hurts her ankle.  Spyke learns to keep up with orders that he must get a car.  A dinner party won’t end.  A touring singer finds that Ghavin has questions for the band.  Carrie and Fred try to have a garage sale and are visited by the Mayor (Kyle MacLachlan).  Claire and Doug question if they should apply their relationship with their dog to their lives.

portlandia season 4 episode 6 bahama knights peter nance maya rudolph fred armisen carrie brownstein

“Bahama Knights”

4.6       Bahama Knights Airdate:  04/03/14

Peter and Nance learn that Peter’s ex-wife (Maya Rudolph) is bringing Peter’s old band Bahama Knights to Portland.  Will sets out to make a documentary about the Beatles.  A party shows the differences between the men and the women.  A folk singer (Jeff Tweedy) tries to tap into his inner pain.

portlandia season 4 episode 7 trail blazers cheerleaders candace toni fred armisen carrie brownstein

“Trail Blazers”

4.7       Trail Blazers Airdate:  04/10/14

A smoothie recipe goes bad when Joaquin gets his hair caught in the blender.  Candace and Toni attend a Trail Blazers’ game and are offended by the cheerleaders.  Cynda goes to get a tattoo removed and wonders if she’s making the right decision.  Custom shirts to avoid sweatshops take on their own life.  Gus Van Sant hosts the Can’Ts Awards for videos to start funding for a kickstarters.

portlandia season 4 episode 8 late in life drug use brendan fred armisen

“Late in Life Drug Use”

4.8       Late in Life Drug Use Airdate:  04/17/14

The Mayor decides that the Pride Day isn’t weird enough for Portland anymore and stages a Bigot Parade.  When their friends use drugs at a party, Brendan and Michelle decides that it is time to try.  A new Italian chain calls Punslingers for help, and the paper police set out to stop paper use.  Carrie finds her brother (Josh Homme) and his new boyfriend (Nick Swardson) are coming for a visit.  Candace and Toni get a visit from the police.  Spyke and Iris go to a new Thai restaurant but discover that the reviews are a conspiracy.

portlandia season 4 episode 9 3d printer mayor kyle maclachlan michael nesmith

“3D Printer”

4.9       3D Printer Airdate:  04/24/14

Father Timothy (Ed Begley Jr.) tries to boost his attendance with new options for the service.  The Mayor announces that Portland has gotten a 3D printer, but Carrie and Fred learn the secret of the Mayor’s budget plan involving his parents (Michael Nesmith, Dorothy Nesbit).  An artist teacher tries to get his students to see the conspiracy of McDonald’s.  Santa Claus realizes he must modernize to compete with Amazon.  A trip to the airport combines with marketing new perfume.  Nina and Lance suffer a loss.

portlandia season 4 episode 10 getting away kd lang

“Getting Away”

4.10     Getting Away Airdate:  05/01/14

Dave and Kath plan a getaway weekend to relax but could find the ultimate weekend bonus in a Fleece Outlet.  Candace and Toni prepare an all women weekend, but a male bus driver named Kim (Jason Sudekis) could cause stress.  Peter and Nance get a weekend at a hotel and try to explore New Beavertown…but the exiled beavers strike back!

Related Links:

Portlandia—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Portlandia—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Portlandia—Season 3 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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