Portlandia is at six seasons and has about two more to go. All of them have been damaging to Portland residents. Specifically, queers, transfolk, low-income residents and people of color. One establishment that may be getting hit hard is In Other Words Feminist Bookstore. If you watch the show you may recognize IOW as the set for Women and Women First. Carrie and Fred play as Toni and Candace, the two staff members of the feminist bookstore. Fred and Carrie perform a minstrel show of feminism and seems to be a mockery of transfolk or gender nonconforming people. Not only is it a misrepresentation of feminism and feminist but it could be damaging.
Now with that said, let me get less academic and more practical.
It is fun to be funny, more so when you make others laugh and they throw money at you to tell more jokes. When you find a funny joke and tell it to an audience you know well and get positive feedback, it is difficult to stop and see if the joke you are making is ok. Even if the joke is about your own experience and your own pain, it can potentially be harmful to others that have had similar experiences. The reason is, that when you make jokes at your own expense you give others permission to laugh about it. That is not always a bad thing but can be problematic when the permission is given to people that do not really understand or can empathize with your experience. In short, all because everyone in the room is laughing and ordering another season from you does not make what you do right.
Some are under the impression that a non-profit such as In Other Words Bookstore and Community Center can benefit financially from exposure from a popular show like Portlandia. If you are familiar with tourism or have worked in the industry you know that tourist does not really bring money to a community and its businesses as a whole. Many people that visit In Other Words on 14th NE Killingsworth, just come in to take pictures of not just the shop but the staff and patrons. They probably do not even spend money at the neighboring businesses. In Other Words, Bookstore is not a zoo, museum or a peculiarium. Nor is it a place where you will get mistreated or be unwelcome for being a cis man. If anything, you will more likely be treated better because the clerks have less tolerance for assholes than any dive bar.
In Other Words is much more than a bookstore. They provide a space for creative, educational and therapeutic events and activities for all for the community. It only struggles because they work to have as many free or affordable services as possible like their library and their books for prisoners program. They are open most of the day every day but Monday. Walk in and feed your mind instead of sitting at home watching mediocre comedy for mediocre people, by mediocre producers.
If you want to see how the Producers of Portlandia try and help Portlandia check out these fun tweets they posted during the super bowl.
You get the point. Help, don't help me.
The show has functioned as an internal tourism program to attract people to move to the city and "normalize" it. Everyone wants the low rent and healthy environment but no one wants the customs of the locals. You could call internal colonialism. Come in and, convert the locals, while also emulating their culture as they are driven out. On the other hand, Portlandia is helping Oregon achieve its old vision since it was made a member of the United States, as white European homeland or the lebensraum. Hey, that would be a rad episode. Fred and Carrie can play Hammerskins at a local, Whole Foods-like grocery store.
In Other Words, let me know if I have said something shitty or problematic. I do not want to be like Portlandia and its Producers. I will gladly delete the whole thing.