After hundreds of voters weighed in, the results came back. Old Portland died on January 21, 2011 — the day Portlandia debuted.
The end of Portlandia is time to look back on a show that opened the door to a type of hipster humor that felt young and fresh until its moment, like all moments, passed.
The Vulture’s article on the death of Old Portland at the hands of Portlandia reminded me of similar stories, particularly how the villagers of Port Isaac are fed up with the Doc Martin series filming in their village.
Are the shows really to blame? Austin has long had a hip reputation and old-timers lament the passing of landmarks, but I can’t recall any TV shows set there. Our little town of Durham is growing by leaps and bounds yet there’s no TV show fueling that. Maybe Old Portland would have changed even without the attention the show brought to it.
But there is such a thing as “buzz”; downtown Durham has it for better and worse, and we visited Portland based on watching Portlandia. The buzz will die away eventually, it has its moment, as humor does. In the meantime? Suffer the tourists and techno-nomads, perhaps, or search out the next Portland or Austin or Durham and stake your claim. More fun to create your own scene than hang out at someone else’s.