Here’s a Congressman’s Pitch for a Portlandia Sketch

Spoiler: It’s amazing.

Blumenauer, with bird.
National Journal
Lucia Graves
Add to Briefcase
Lucia Graves
Jan. 10, 2014, 11:07 a.m.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer has nev­er dabbled in satir­ic­al tele­vi­sion, but if he did, his show would be Portland­ia.

At a blog­ger roundtable on Cap­it­ol Hill, he con­fided to Na­tion­al Journ­al that the show has rap­idly grown on him. “I watched the first three epis­odes be­fore I real­ized it was a com­edy and not a doc­u­ment­ary,” he said in an aside. “I mean, these are my people.”

The le­gis­lat­or from Port­land, Ore. was well versed in the show, nav­ig­at­ing the epis­odes with ease. The Al­lergy Pride Parade, he noted, could eas­ily ex­ist in Port­land, and it’s not un­com­mon for people to do farm-to-table in­vest­ig­a­tions on the ori­gins of their food, as when Car­rie Brown­stein and Fred Armis­en fol­low the res­taur­ant chick­en lis­ted on a menu back to the farm on which it was raised.

“It’s slightly over the top,” he said of the show, “but it’s very close to home. It’s Port­land.”

As head of the Con­gres­sion­al Bike Caucus, Blumenauer has already gif­ted show pro­du­cers his trade­mark plastic bike pin. And some­times when he brings new people to town, he says, he’ll show them the first five minutes of the chick­en epis­ode to give them an in­tro­duc­tion to Rose City.

He also has a tongue-in-cheek pitch for the show’s pro­du­cers about the per­ils of be­ing the con­gress­man from Portland­ia. “Every epis­ode this per­son would die due to an­oth­er freight trans­port­a­tion ac­ci­dent,” said Blumenauer, who’s made green trans­port­a­tion a hall­mark of his work. “Fall­ing out of the aer­i­al tram, be­ing run over by a street car, a mob of cyc­lists….”

The idea of a Blumenauer cameo isn’t quite as out­land­ish as it seems. Former Port­land May­or Sam Adams, (yep, that’s his real name), reg­u­larly ap­pears on the show as as­sist­ant to Port­land’s fic­tion­al may­or played by Kyle MacLach­lan. To say noth­ing of the rock stars that reg­u­larly ap­pear as thinly veiled ver­sions of them­selves — or simply, as them­selves.

A Huff­ing­ton Post re­port­er from Brook­lyn in­ter­jec­ted that New York­ers will of­ten claim the show’s cre­at­ors stole the idea for the sketch from Park Slope. “They’ll let you be Port­land East,” Blumenauer replied mag­nan­im­ously. “We’ll be Brook­lyn West.”

The series has been signed on for a fourth and fifth sea­son. No word on wheth­er Blumenauer’s sketch will ap­pear.

Dis­clos­ure: One of my first jobs out of col­lege was work­ing as an in­ter­im press per­son for Blumenauer on the Hill. It was a great job and I still have a few bike pins.

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