Carrie Brownstein Q&A: ‘Portlandia’

Carrie Brownstein admits during our recent webcam chat that she just can't pick a favorite from her two series ("Portlandia" and "Transparent"): “Both shows I’m so fond of, but they’re so different. So they allow me to explore different sides of myself; as a performer, as an actor. One is, of course, a little bit absurd but allows me to play different characters; that being ‘Portlandia'. Then with ‘Transparent’ it’s nice to kind of give myself over to someone else’s vision.”

She says putting together the fifth season of “Portlandia” with Fred Armisen was, “very joyous and full of optimism. There’s so many characters that we play, that we have to dive into them with a certain fearlessness.”

As to the increasing popularity of this IFC show: “We use absurdity to explore small moments like minutiae and sometimes unexplainable things; but at the core of that is something that’s very earnest but also something that’s a little feisty. I think something that keeps us driven and keeps us making this kind of angular show is the part of Fred and I that feels discomfited; that feels a little agitated. I think that’s a nice way to keep the stakes feeling high… It adds that weird aggravation or irritation to the scenes.”

Last year, "Portlandia" earned its most ever Emmy nominations, with five. For Brownstein, “we’re a show with a small budget, we have a small crew, we have small group of writers; to get that kind of recognition is still kind of surreal and we never take for granted that we’re being recognised by the industry in which we work. We would do this anyway but we are still very proud. I don’t even think of us as the underdog, i think of us as the flea on the underdog.”

She welcomes the addition of the Variety Sketch Series category: “It was a really great move by the academy, we all in the sketch world felt a little dubious being in the same category (as talk shows that) create content for every night of the week. It’s just apples and oranges. It’s nice to have this new tributary we can hang out in.”

The actress regards Syd, her character on “Transparent,” as “someone who’s been on the periphery of this family, since they’ve been in high school and that she’s always wanted to be more part of the family. She’s always sort of played them against each other and part of what drives her is wanting to belong. It’s a little treacherous for her sometimes.”

Brownstone belives “Transparent,” "helps to normalize differences. And normalize the idea of expanding the notion of what it means to be a person, to be a woman, to be a man, to be a family. It’s helped create a conversational centrepiece for people, wherever they are in their lives they can use ‘Transparent’ to reflect on the show in starting a discussion.”

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UPLOADED Jun 13, 2015 11:01 am