Bitch Radio: Behind the Scenes of Portlandia

Portlandia season two premieres next week on IFC. To tide you over until then, today’s episode of Bitch Radio features Carrie Brownstein, Fred Armisen, show creator Jonathan Krisel, and show producer Andrew Singer answering pressing Portlandia questions. Wondering which scenes were the hardest to shoot, or what to expect from season two? Tune in and find out! (Be warned: This Q&A happened at a press luncheon, which means lots of fork clanging in the background.)

the cast and creators of Portlandia sitting in a row at a table behind some microphones
This is what it looked like during the press luncheon where the Q&A occurred.

Previously: Tunes of 2011, We’re Here, We’re Beer, Get Used to It

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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9 Comments Have Been Posted

Thanks / Audio Drop / Recording Equipment?

Thanks for posting this audio online. It was a great to hear about their processes, views, and intent of the show.

The audio drops at about 6:17 - 7:57. Was that intentional? Bad file?

I'm curious to know what kind of recording equipment you use. I do similar type of recordings and have found my <a href=" DM-520</a> to be quite the trooper. Sadly, that particular model is not made anymore, but the <a href=" would probably provide a similar functionality.

Best of luck, keep the podcasts coming! Enjoy the New Year.

So strange! Good catch!


Thanks for catching that long pause! It wasn't there when I was editing the audio—I have no idea what could have happened to the file! At any rate, I'm re-uploading a pause-free version right now.

Thanks also for the audio equipment recommendation! We don't have a lot of money in the budget for equipment at the moment, so I actually use a digital voice recorder app for my iPhone to do the podcasts, but it's great to have some ideas for when our budget is bigger (fingers crossed)!

Thanks / Equipment


Of course we'd love a donation! How thoughtful and generous! The way it works is, once the item is donated (either by mail or in person if you're in Portland), we'll give you a tax-deductible receipt. If you contact me via email (kelsey at we can exchange the proper info.

Thanks so much Zachary!

Uh. Nice to see no matter how

Uh. Nice to see no matter how problematic Portlandia is that Bitch can turn a blind eye to it.

(Whitewashing much?!)

That's a good point

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for your comment. I agree with you that Portlandia is a white show for a (primarily) white audience, and that is unfortunate. However, I don't think it's fair to say that "Bitch" is turning a blind eye to anything. We all have different opinions, and no one contributor or staff member speaks for the organization as a whole.

As far as Portlandia goes, I'm with you in wishing it was a better, more inclusive show. The whitewashing you mention, in my interpretation, exists for a few reasons: A) Portland is a primarily white city, B) The subcultures that the show makes fun of are considered "white" by mainstream culture. This is problematic, as I'm sure there are lots of non-white people who like to "put a bird on it" or obsess over their recycling, and it's too bad that the show doesn't challenge mainstream representations by portraying that.

By promoting it and ignoring

By promoting it and ignoring the racism you're turning a blind eye. Much like Portlandia! Portland is a "white city" really now? I saw PoC on the bus! And in coffee shops! And in little vintage stores! And Food Front! I'd imagine even In Other Words addresses intersectionality in their books. I know Laughing Horse does. By saying Portland is a "white city" you automatically erase the PoC that live here. Which is somehow ok because it's ironic, I guess. 30% of Portland are PoC, just so you know.

And just because it's the common assumption that the middle class cultures they lampoon are predominately white doesn't mean that's the reality. And in fact it's more racist to suggest that the creative middle class in Portland is all white. Because only white people can eat organically or try and be sustainable, right?

I can't believe this isn't addressed by Bitch or Jezebel or any of the other "feminist" publications out there.

Feminism and racism go hand in hand. Aren't we supposed to be allies? Who's more hurt by racism and sexism than WoC? So how does ignoring Portlandia's racism help Woc? And how does ignoring Portlandia's racism hurt WoC?

Oh and a side note, Armisen himself comes from a problematic comedic background. SNL really couldn't use a PoC without passing privilege to parody the president?

Tine to open up that knapsack again.

I agree


I agree, and the issues you bring up are important ones to discuss, especially for feminists. I didn't mean to suggest that Portlandia portrays a reality in any sense of the word, only that my guess as to one of the reasons why the show is so unfortunately white is that the subcultures they mock are typically portrayed as white by the mainstream media (as is Portland), thus it makes sense that a satire of said subcultures would be white as well.

I'm planning a post about <em>Portlandia</em>'s premiere and will definitely raise these questions. Thanks again for your comments.

Thank you! I honestly do

Thank you! I honestly do appreciate it and look forward to reading about it. I hadn't been able to put my finger on why it bothers me so much until a PoC said "Why do people say there are no black people in Portland? I mean, I'm right here."

I think that sums it up.

No poc on portlandia

I'm a fan of the show. Enjoy the humor. But it's just weird there are no people of color. Really?

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