Portlandia, Season 3, Episode 5: Squiggleman, Review

Six words: The Defiance of Anthropomorphic Sea-Mammals

There is a pretty woman sitting at the bar, fiddling around with sexy, thick black-framed glasses. She’s talking about her affection for comic books and a weakness for role-playing video games. Too good to be true, right?

Nerds everywhere need to grab their inhalers and take a deep breath. These women aren’t real nerds and the opening skit of Portlandia’s fifth episode, “Squiggleman,” is a public service announcement to inform the masses “The More You Knerd.”

Brian P. is an “actual nerd” and he won’t stand by and let an imposter take credit for his way of life: “A sexy girl who went and saw a second week screening of The Avengers isn’t a nerd.”

Sexy nerds aren’t the only people being roasted in Portlandia. When Women & Women First Feminist Bookstore holds a comedy night, Candice takes to the stage to make a few jokes about Toni. We find out that Toni can’t take a joke and she decides to exact revenge by going Gallagher on stage with items from Candice’s purse. 

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“Is this your vibrator?” asks Toni. “I’m putting it out of its misery.”

The main skit of the episode starts at the battlefields of suburbia; more formally known as PTA meetings. Armisen and Brownstein squabble with another couple over the free music available in the library only to realize that if they want their kids to hear honest, unforgiving rock and roll, they have to make it themselves. 

Brownstein, when not working on Portlandia, leads a double life as the former frontwoman for Slater-Kinney and currently Wild Flag. She gives maybe her most memorable performance as the new frontwoman of a band born in a PTA meeting: The Defiance of Anthropomorphic Sea-Mammals.

Squiggleman, the headliner, comes out to a rousing ovation. He’s a more badass version of The Wiggles and makes the sea-mammals reassess their musical foundation.

The truth is, if you want to capture an audience, you have to think like them. Squiggleman tells Armisen and Brownstein that he started seeing the world as a nine-year-old and his popularity grew.

The joke that brings the episode full circle comes in the final minute. When The Defiance of Anthropomorphic Sea-Mammals releases a music video, the snobs at Pitchfork Kids spit their pretentious propaganda on the web for the world to see.

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The Sea-Mammals are so good that Pitchfork Kids can’t fathom another band getting a better review. They shut down the site, giving music fans, bands and record labels hope that the real Pitchfork will someday follow Portlandia’s lead and cease to exist. 

Catch Phrases:
The most enjoyable part about forming a band is coming up with the name. 
Close, but no cigar: 
Gummy Riot
Dough Hammer
Shortstop Sleepover
The Hamburger Option 
The Winner:
The Defiance of Anthropomorphic Sea-Mammals. I can’t think of a better name in show business. 
Underrated Skit of the Episode: 
Carrie’s one-night stand from hell is the gift that keeps on giving. Thankfully, she makes it to the only DMV in the United States that doesn’t completely suck.
Hipster Moments: 
Blasting electro-melodies on a synthesizer and shouting, “I wanna die!” into a microphone with children in the audience gives Brownstein the hipster moment.