Portlandia, Season 3, Episode 4: Nina’s Party, Review

Who knew Evite's were such a THING?

The Evite’s have been sent out. Check your email because you’ve been invited to “celebrat8” Nina’s birthday in Portlandia’s fourth episode: Nina’s Party. 

In one of the show’s most inventive skits, Nina uses Evite to create an elaborate 32nd birthday celebration. Here we see the flexibility Portlandia has established in Season 3, when the party is used as a device to finally bring all of the Portlandia characters together and have them interact. It’s one of the first episodes where every skit progresses the main story line and it shows the good that a commitment to character development can bring.

This party has everything: Pre-dawn horseback ride, Sunrise yoga, 12:00 PM make your own Sundae bar, Disco-nap room and a Poker game with a $200 buy-in. Really, who wouldn’t want to attend?

Two of the best skits of the episode are people reacting to their Evites. We get guest star Patton Oswalt (Thor83 is his Evite alter-ego) who is the king of making up funny RSVP’s. Oswalt’s online ego is further embellished when Fred and Carrie recognize him in a coffee shop. But not every celebrity can handle the limelight. When Oswalt gets Evite writer’s block he reminds himself of what he’s created:

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“You’re Thor83, you have invented the world of funny Evite replies,” Oswalt says.

“Now rule your kingdom!”

Thor83 never actually attends any of the parties he responds to but some couples can’t pass up the opportunity to wish a friend happy birthday. As you get older birthday parties seem to get more extravagant and costly. The struggle to decide which ones to attend could threaten a relationship. When a Portland couple gets Nina’s Evite, they debate whether they’ll be able to afford to go to multiple birthday parties in the same month.

“Maybe we can go to the bank and get a loan,” 

In Portlandia, as it turns out, there are loans for everything. The couple gets a 30-year fixed loan to attend the upcoming birthday bash but first they have to answer to a familiar face.

The cell phone store worker from season one is now is in the business of giving loans and he drags out the process with a slew of unnecessary questions like “is she a book reader or playground diva?” 

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When it finally comes time for Nina’s birthday, many of the colorful characters of Portlandia feast, for the first time together in one room. Armisen and Brownstein have taken the next step as writers, continuing to develop a sense of community in Portlandia – something that tells us the series, already highly entertaining and drawing a devout cult following, has yet to reach its full potential.

Underrated Skit of the Episode: 

Lance, riding a glorious white stallion, makes a heartfelt gesture to Nina for her birthday. No Doubt makes a cameo and it’s only fitting that they appear in a hot-air balloon to end the birthday festivities.

Catch Phrases: 

“It seems like a person has a birthday almost every year”

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