Next year, Portlandia season 8, the show’s final season, will bring the Peabody Award-winning sketch show to an end. But while the impending conclusion of “Portlandia” is obviously distressing for fans, Fred Arimisen admitted to Metro that it has come at the right time, not just because they wanted to show to go out on a high but also because of who is in the White House.
“We decided because we care about ‘Portlandia,’ and we care about the quality of it,” Armisen explained when quizzed about why he and Carrie Brownstein had decided the time was right for it to conclude. “We come from music, so we like the idea of a first album and a last album, some sort of control so that it doesn’t spin out or get stale. We also wanted to have a sense of bookends, like the beginning of the sketch show and the end of it. We care too much about it to do it for whatever reason.”
When the topic of Donald Trump came up, Armisen admitted that his ascension to The White House impacted the writing of the upcoming episodes, even going as far as to call it “tricky,” especially because every other season was written under the Obama administration.
“It was really tricky, because every season has only happened under the Obama administration,” Armisen explained, before admitting that Trump’s victory has changed the way he looks at some of the characters. “There are things that we took for granted. We took for granted that a type of character would be annoying or frivolous, and now some of those characters are the ones that I hang on to for dear life.”
But rather than making overt and constant references to Trump in the eighth season, Armisen admitted that they avoided commenting on him directly. “We want the show to have some shelf-life, so we didn’t comment directly. But we did a sketch last season called, ‘What about men?’ Where men were like, ‘There’s so many specialty groups, so what about us?’ That was a look towards whoever these people might be, and that’s the closest we came to saying anything direct. But there was a lot we had to rethink.”
Even though the upcoming batch of episodes will bring “Portlandia” to an end, Armisen revealed that they didn’t want to make a big song and dance about their farewell, and instead focused on just being funny. “We try not to make any big final statements with it,” Armisen insisted. “We tried to keep it like a sketch show and comedy, just because people watch it out of order. Our main goal is to keep it funny and entertaining and relevant, we stuck to that. It’s bittersweet, but it’s a normal season.”
Fans will be forced to bid farewell to “Portlandia” when its eighth and final season airs on IFC at some point in 2018. Those of you looking for a fix of Fred Armisen before then can get just that when “The Lego Ninjago” movie is released on September 22.