|Season 1, Episode 1|
|Air date||January 21, 2011|
|Written by||Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Jonathan Krisel, Allison Silverman|
|Directed by||Jonathan Krisel|
|Focus characters||Peter and Nance|
A Song for Portland
Farm is the series premiere episode of Portlandia. It is the first episode of Season 1.
The episode consisted of seven sketches and introduced multiple reoccurring characters and guest stars.
A well-intentioned Portland couple wants to know if the chicken they are ordering for dinner had a nice life.
Location: The Gilt Club, North-West Portland
Peter and Nance bond as they wait to be served lunch at The Gilt, a classy and organic restaurant. A waitress named Dana (Dana Millican) arrives at the table and asks if the couple has any questions regarding the menu, and Nance inquires about the chicken. However, instead of explaining the chicken as a meal, Dana explains the breed, diet, and living conditions of the chicken before it was slaughtered. Peter and Nance’s concern grows as they continue to ask questions, and Dana leaves momentarily and returns with a file containing all of the documented information regarding Colin the chicken. Despite having all of the documented information, Peter and Nance are still not satisfied, to the point where they leave the restaurant to visit the farm where Colin was raised, which is 30 miles south of the city.
Location: Aliki Farms, 30 minutes outside of Portland
Peter and Nance arrive at Aliki Farms and explain their situation to a young woman, who proceeds to give them a tour and show them where they raise the chickens. They are introduced to Aliki (Jason Sudeikis), the sensual and charismatic owner of the farm. After Peter and Nance express their satisfaction with the farm's humane methods, Aliki flatters them and proposes that they both move onto the farm with him and his nine wives (one of which is recurring cast member Ashby Lee Collinson), which Peter and Nance accept.
Location: Aliki Farms, The Gilt Club
5 years since they first arrived at the farm, Peter, Nance, and Aliki’s nine wives surround Aliki on his deathbed. During his final moments, he tells Peter how much he’ll miss him and repeatedly calls Nance a bitch. Once he finally dies, Peter and Nance immediately realize they have no idea where they are or how they ended up there. They flee in a panic and return to the restaurant, only to inform the waitress that they’ll be having the salmon instead of the chicken, presumably beginning the process all over again.
As Melanie (Carrie Brownstein) leaves her L.A. apartment to walk her dog, she runs into Jason (Fred Armisen), a friend who has just returned from his trip to Portland. The two reminisce about the trends of the 90s, including forming bands, getting piercings and tribal tattoos, and the rise of environmental awareness. Jason reveals to Melanie that this way of life is still alive in Portland, and the scene cuts to the Dream of the 90s music video, where Jason walks through the city with a large group of fellow hipsters and free-thinkers. Throughout the song, Jason continues to explain to Melanie how Portland is keeping the 90s lifestyle alive. Eventually, Melanie gets more and more turned on by the idea of Portland and the music video reaches it’s peak as Jason sings alongside clowns, street performers, a choir, and a marching band. Just before as the song is ending, it is interrupted as Melanie arrives in Portland donning new piercings and a flannel shirt; Jason describes as her new look as too “San Francisco,” prompting him to remove a few piercings so she can match the Portland aesthetic. Jason welcomes Melanie to Portland and the pair finish the song together.
Location: Southeast Lincoln Street, South-East Portland
Fred sits at the dining room table surrounded by his laptop, tablet, and cell phone as well as a few Netflix DVDs and remote controls. Fred quickly becomes overstimulated with all of these items and obsessively checks emails, reads texts, and updates software. He calls for help and Carrie stops cleaning the dishes to come to his rescue. As Fred spirals out of control, Carrie forces Fred to look at his high school picture and remember what his life was like before the rise of the internet. To solve his addiction, Carrie installs “Mind-Fi” into their brains, allowing them to communicate telepathically; however, Fred soon malfunctions and his picture is used on an online article called “Top Ten Mind-Fi Fails.”
Location: Women & Women First Bookstore, North-East Portland
Candace and Toni manage the cash register in their empty bookstore. Candace drinks tea out a jar, claiming it helps clear out her tear ducts and keep her skin dry, despite tasting like soot and water. A man (Steve Buscemi) enters the bookstore and uses the bathroom, prompting Candace and Toni to confront him for breaking their customer-only bathroom policy. The argument escalates and Candace accuses the man of viewing women as inferior to men, and she and Toni force the man to purchase something from the store. Desperate to leave, the man selects a coffee coozie and even offers to pay more than it’s worth just so he can escape, only to be accused of being a pimp. As they ring him up, they try coercing the man into signing up for one of the bookstore’s many classes. The man becomes more and more upset and eventually threatens to leave the store without buying anything, but Candace says she will scratch his neck and call the police if he attempts to do so. The man reveals that he has to go to the bathroom again, and while he's using the bathroom, Candace and Toni forget he's there and leave to retrieve change for the man's transaction. They lock the doors and leave, effectively trapping the man inside the bookstore alone.
Location: Portland Community College Library, North-East Portland
A team of adults (dubbed the Sherlock Homies) who belong to an adult hide-and-seek league are preparing for their intense tournament against the Punky Bruisers. The leader of the group, Stewart (Fred Armisen), chastises his teammates for not taking the strategy seriously, while the rest of the group is more concerned about the afterparty, especially Susan (Carrie Brownstein). The first round commences, and while the rest of the team hides, Susan continues to ask questions about the afterparty, prompting Stewart to call a time-out and berate Susan for once again not taking the game seriously. As the second round begins, things fall apart again as Ellen (Ellen Bloodworth) finds Stewart as she tries to read and patronizes him for being a weirdo. During the final round, every member of the Sherlock Homies is found except for Stewart and the team celebrates their first-ever win. However, an old bearded man shows up, who claims he has been hiding since 1979. While the two teams are astounded and contemplate the man’s potential hiding spot, he mysteriously disappears, a testament to his grand hiding abilities. Later, the referee comes across a hidden spot in the library where the man appears to live.
A continuation of Sketch 3, Stewart, again, runs into Ellen at the library during another game of Hide-and-seek, who berates him for continuing to participate in these competitions. Stewart reveals that he’s romantically interested in Susan and Ellen encourages him to ask her out.
- Steve Buscemi as Book Store Customer
- Jason Sudekis as Aliki Farms
- Ellen Bloodworth as Old Lady
- Mikey Kampmann as Seeker
- Nicholas Kim as Young Man
- Dana Millican as Waitress
- Mary Nelson as Sister Zoe
- Edward Stiner as Old Man
- Brian Adrian Koch as Adult Hide and Seek
- Judah Nelson as Aliki's Son
- This episode introduced many sketches, characters, and locations that would appear later in the series, including Peter and Nance, Candace and Toni of Women & Women First, and Fred and Carrie.
- This was the first episode to feature a song, the song being "Dream of the 90s".
- Jason Sudeikis's role marked the first time a current or former Saturday Night Live cast member appeared on the show. Sudekis and Armisen were cast members together from seasons 30 to 38.