The season two premiere of “Portlandia,” IFC’s sketch comedy series starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, has everything this show does best: guest performances, zippy audio cues and SoCal jabs.


Season 2

Armisen and Brownstein are masters of characterization, and in “Mixology” they expertly transform between clingy parents, pickling experts (“We can pickle that!”) and feminist bookstore owners. Even when they are more or less playing themselves, Armisen and Brownstein excel with their precise timing and chemistry.

While the main duo are in their element, it’s guest comedian Kumail Nanjiani who takes the MVP award this week as the waiter of an absurd restaurant. He offers a straight-faced Armisen the options of lobsterating, breakfastizing and super-spiking (“We pour Jack Daniels over your meal”) their food.

In its first season, “Portlandia” was inconsistent, but if “Mixology” is any indication of what this season has to offer, established Portlandians and new viewers alike have plenty to look forward to.

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