Spring Arts: TV

Stumptown: The Good, the Bad, and the Portlandia

We take a look at ABC’s Rose City–set procedural.

By Jason Cohen February 25, 2020 Published in the March 2020 issue of Portland Monthly

Image: Courtesy ABC

Stumptown the comic is authentically Portland. Creator Greg Rucka knows his city, and sometimes even photographs locations—the St. Johns Bridge, Providence Park—for artist Justin Greenwood to draw from.

Stumptown the TV show tries hard to measure up. A breezier (but still faithful) adaptation of Rucka’s graphic novels, the ABC show, which stars Colbie Smulders as private eye Dex Parrios, walks a fine line between having the right amount of Portland flavor and overcompensating for the fact that it’s made in California (though some exteriors and a good chunk of the pilot episode were shot here). 

Here are some of Stumptown’s best, worst, and cheesiest nods to the actual Stumptown. (Which nobody calls Stumptown. Unless they’re talking coffee.)

So Portland Portlandia
Dex’s brother Ansel’s entire wardrobe appears to be Timbers gear (plus a Jackpot Records T-shirt). It’s official team merchandise, rather than the cool stuff you buy from the Timbers Army.
Bartender Grey looks down on a character he doesn’t like for ordering a manhattan with bourbon. The manhattan costs $16.
The Blazers’ CJ McCollum shows up as an Insta-happy foodie (“I taste adobo”). Tobin Heath and Damian Lillard have been referenced, but no cameos (yet).
Dex mentions seeing “Fiona X” (a Courtney Love meets Avril Lavigne rocker) at the Roseland six years ago. Fiona X actually plays a venue which (on the outside) is the Laurelhurst Theater.
In the pilot, one character hangs out outside the Nitehawk in North Portland. It takes him three minutes to get from N Rosa Parks and Interstate to downtown.
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