Portlandia 5×09 ‘You Can Call Me Al’: “BEER Belly.”


This week’s Portlandia is focused on Music. There’s two bumbling installers from a company that installs speakers on literally every surface of your home. Plus, Dave and Kath get an invitation to a karaoke party and go into full panic mode. There’s also the most accurate depiction of a post office that I’ve ever seen. Plus, the work-at-home types of Portland decide to unionize. Guest starring Vanessa Bayer, Jeff Goldblum, and Paul Simon.

First up, Dave and Kath attend an obnoxious Q&A session with the legendary singer/songwriter Paul Simon. Like some many of these events, there’s always at least one person who isn’t really there to ask questions, but to make themselves look better than everyone else. But in the process they just end up looking foolish and annoying everyone. That’s exactly what happens when Dave stands up to “ask” Paul a series of nonsensical questions and ends up getting giggled at by the audience. After they return home, Kath finds that they’ve been invited to a karaoke party which means she’ll have to sign them up for vocal lessons because “they just don’t have any fun if they aren’t doing things right!” Local vocal (ha) coach Jeff Goldblum assists them in making what I can only describe as animal noises and false operatic notes. When it comes time for the actual competition? The song that they chose is stolen and they have to stand up and sing the star-spangled banner cold. It goes about as good as you’d expect.

Vanessa Bayer stars as a woman who just wants a speaker system set up throughout her home. You’d think that she’d call someone with audio experience but instead she hires Carried and Fred (in disguise here) to install her speakers. Well, they literally put the speakers in every nook and cranny: cabinets, floors, pillows you name it. The problem? When Vanessa goes to use the speakers none of them work. Fred tells her she’ll have do order an HDMI cable and have it sent to her house. Unfortunately Vanessa misses the delivery and has to stop by the Post Office of Hell. There’s all your typical hallmarks: signs in all caps telling you what you can’t do, long lines, women with circa 1980’s hairdos that never changed, terrible customer service, and creepy dudes that appear to not be doing anything. Once Vanessa climbs into the literal bowels of the place she finds her HDMI cable and hooks it up which only causes her more problems. Carrie and Fred decide to come live with her so they can always be there to help her.

The weakest sketch in my opinion was the stay-at-home workers union. Fred’s wife goes to work and he’s left having to make sure the cable man gets let in on time. Simple enough right? Well not for Fred who decides, instead of just dealing with this minor inconvenience and still get my work done, gathers up his neighbors in protest. Typical taking things too far Fred.

Join me next week for Portlandia’s season five finale! What did you guys think? I thought the episode was pretty good. Let me know in the comments!

Sarah S. is an aspiring couch potato and currently haunts the Midwestern United States. She spends way too much time watching TV and being a pop culture junkie. When she’s not ranting about movies and TV on social media, you can probably find her with an iced latte in hand or fixing everyone’s problems. Sometimes she writes really silly stuff on Twitter and Tumblr.


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