Watching Annie Clark give her all to that song brings tomind a mid-'90s legend, where CourtneyLove, while touring with Lollapalooza, bet Stephen Malkmus that she could finish the Times Sunday crossword before he could, and the loser would have to"cover a Pearl Jam song without irony." Malkmus won the bet, but no Pearl Jamcover was ever performed. It seemed like an irony-free Pearl Jam cover was animpossible task, but St. Vincent proves it can be pulled off!
But I digress. The dream of the '90s is still alive inPortland, and in the midst of all this hullabaloo, a new Portlandia episode aired on Friday night! "Cool Wedding," was notas sharp as last Friday's "One Moore Episode" (the claws really came out lastweek, and the satire shredded) but Fred and Carrie still delivered the goods.The cold-open sketch, which played on the cult of Apple computers, nailed howdependent iPhone users are on their smartphones, to the point of absurdity.
The title sketch/runner focused on the "cool wedding" between Spyke and Irys, Portlandia's recurring bike-messengerpunks. In the first segment of the runner, Spyke and Irys meet with theirwedding planner, and their description of what they want their wedding to bewas one of the highlights of the episode. "There's a 60 percent divorce rate.We want that at the forefront of peoples' minds," Irys tells their weddingplanner. "But we want it to be fun," Spyke adds.
I'll be honest: Sometimes I peek at other Portlandia recaps if they go up beforemine, and I was surprised that the "You go first!" sketch was roundly hated inthe recap community. To me, this sketch was the episode's peak and embodiedeverything that Fred and Carrie succeed at comically. The gist of the sketchwas that Fred and Carrie are in separate cars and keep insisting that the othergo first at an intersection. When neither one of them will go, the sketchheightens to the point of insanity. The reason I love this bit so much is thatthe rapid-fire escalation of the joke, visual gags and clever word play revealFred and Carrie to be the direct descendants of Abbott and Costello.
"Cool Wedding" had two prominent guest stars, but neitherreally added much to their respective sketches. 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer playeda puka-shell wearing dude who forgets his reusable bag at a grocery store, tothe shock and horror of Fred and Carrie. And Academy Award-nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo played an authornamed Nelofar Jamshidi (I'm assuming that's an anagram?) who promotes her book,A Stone's Throw Away From Freedom, atthe Women and Women First Bookstore.
The episode tied up neatly with a call-back to Spyke andIrys, who at this point in the episode have broken up and decide to dividetheir friends in a kickball-style draft. As they pick their friends one at atime from bleachers in a high school gymnasium, it was fun to pick out familiarfaces (Rebecca Cole of Wild Flag anddirector Lance Bangs -- who's also Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney'shusband -- made cameos). It was one of the frequent moments in Portlandia when you feel like you'rewatching a bunch of friends putting on a silly play for their ownamusement.
Download "Cool Weddding" on iTunes here!