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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