We've been slowly working through the backlog of episodes from Portlandia's penultimate season. I've liked it more than last year, when they went more toward episode-long stories and away from the mixes of one-shot vignettes and mini-arcs that made up the first five. They're back closer to the original formula, with a few themes jumping the right-arrows (a Mock Mens Rights series, for one)- and the Animated Rats are back!
Yet one constant of life in the PDX has been shut and shuttered:
Episode 4 focused quite a bit on Toni and Candace, but all of it outside the famed store with ultimate feminist attitude (and required memberships for bathroom use); this is the first and last we saw of Women & Women First except in silent flashback, with the explanation that the wymyns had retired.
If this had been a plot point in prior years, I don't remember it. But I've since learned that the separation is art imitating life: the inspiration for these sketches, the real-life In Other Words bookstore, kicked the IFC production out of their store this past fall and posted about it on their blog in no uncertain terms:
Transmisogyny: Candace is played by Fred in a dress, which demeans trans women. This portrayal has never changed, nor to me at least suggested that he's demeaning anyone other than overly sensitive political activists, who come in all genders/nongenders, shapes, sizes and political stripes. Fred and Carrie also cross-dress in other roles which make fun of other stereotypes.
Racism: According to the post, " there are no Black people on Portlandia." I call bullshit. Mostly, their African-American characters are supporting, but they've done entire episodes (the Ronald D. Moore turn, for one) featuring them.
Gentrification: Portlandia's portrayal of the city contributes to its even greater whitewashing- and local realtors even use show references in their adverts! The horror! Sorry, but this city (and state) have been trying to steer away outsiders long before this show came along, and if you think a silly-ass four or five hours of sketch comedy a year is going to contribute significantly to that, you're taking yourself way too seriously.
Queer antagonism: not addressed in their blog post, and I'm not going to begin to guess.
Devaluation of feminist discourse: apparently, this refers to the current collective's attempts to monetize the attention brought to their work by their portrayals both on the show and during the current controversy. When a local paper, Williamette Weekly (WW below) was investigating the reported parting of the ways last year, it encountered this play-for-pay attitude:
A representative from the store who identified themselves as Mickey Karnage wrote that In Other Words would likely be willing to answer questions. In multiple e-mails, Karnage then repeatedly asked that WW post a link to an online fundraiser by the bookstore. The bookstore also raised $14,000 in a previous online fundraiser in 2014.
WW sent questions via e-mail—including what specific content had spurred the store to put up the sign after a six-year association with the show. WW declined as a matter of policy to promise a link to the store's fundraising platform in exchange for an interview.
Karnage then sent the following message:
"After some consideration and research we've decided to officially tell the Willamette Weekly to go fuck themselves. Your paper has absolutely zero journalistic professionalism and you are scummy rape apologists. Thanks for the opportunity tho! Have a great night."
When the left behaves as badly as the right when it comes to journalistic integrity, it loses me. So now it's time to say goodbye to Portland's bookstore jewel, M-I-C,K-E-Y, G-F-Yourself Too!