Throughout the season, I’ve been trying to instill a sense of theme to every episode. It’s a way to figure out how to do more than a simple sketch show review, because I’m weird like that. I don’t think they go into every single episode thinking of what kind of theme should be put onto every single episode when they get into writing it, but even if a theme is subconscious, it’s worth seeking out. This is the series finale of Portlandia, and if there was any theme put into this episode, it would probably be continuation. The interesting thing about this finale episode is the fact that there is a lack of finality to it. There’s no revisit and good bye with every single character that the show has ever made, not victory lap, no real references to the past, all we get is an episode all about a marathon.
The Mayor is planning the annual marathon, and he loves all of the suggestions that have been brought to him about the marathon, except for the route. He see’s the planned route, and he see’s a cereal flake, dampened by milk, but figures that the marathon route needs to have a route that is the shape of a blooming rose.
Then we have Toni, moving away from Candice (for a week), and immediately being replaced by a marathon runner. She’s renting the room for a week so she can have a place to stay for the marathon, and Candice is allowing it so that she doesn’t have to be alone for a week.
Finally, we have Fred and Carrie training for a marathon. They want to run this marathon because the feel like they need to start doing something with their lives. They get trained by Bailey (played by Tessa friggen Thompson) who believe that Carrie has something special about her, and just thinks Fred should quit.
I’m not going that far into these sketches, because they’re not sketches. It’s an episode, with scenes that weave into each other. They’ve done this a few times before, and it’s a nice change of pace every time it happens. I don’t want to go to far into this episode, because it comes together beautifully. The only thing that doesn’t quite work is the Candice bit, because she as played, by Fred Armisen, can get a bit much sometimes.
“Rose Route” is a great encapsulation of what makes this show great. It’s weird, while being relatable. It’s funny, or at least interesting, always. It takes what we take for granted and lampoons it beautifully. It’s something that never end, but just may not tell you it’s story anymore. It’s the Mayor who only wants to make everyone happy. This show just wants to make you happy, but on it’s own terms.
It never compromised it’s weirdness, but it wants you so badly to come along. It’s so pleasant, and quirky, and it’s really hard to hate this show. This is a great so, and a wonderful representation of weird. Thank you to this show, for being a show I can count on for absurdity.