Is Mallard Fillmore Taking Cues from Portlandia?

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Correlation does not imply causality—that’s the old statistics axiom. But if nationally syndicated Mallard Fillmore comic author and illustrator Bruce Tinsley isn’t taking his cues from the satirical comedy show Portlandia, food snobbery has reached a high point of cultural saturation.

The cartoon strips in question, which ran from May 29-31, depict its titular character receiving the low-down on his meal from Kevin, “your locally sourced, organic, hormone-free server.”

Fillmore’s halibut dinner all but includes a dossier, its pastimes include: “swimming, eating smaller fishes and lying around with both eyes on the same side of his head.”

The angles of satire Tinsley uses bear a striking similarity to those deployed in the pilot episode of Portlandia, in which a couple (played by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein) pester their server about the restaurant’s chicken:

[ Video is no longer available. ]

At least the comic strips and the television show draw different conclusions. Portlandia lampoons Portland, Ore.’s foodie culture as an economic driving force for restaurants that cater to its peccadilloes. Meanwhile, Fillmore laments the meager portions and aesthetic arrangement of his food:

“I think the only reason a chef should stack food on top of other food … is that it’s the only way to fit it all on the plate … which doesn’t seem to have been the problem in this case.”

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