Pack your bags for a holiday retreat to the place where the dream of the 1990s and 1890s is alive. Portlandia might not return for Season Three until next month, but IFC has left a little gift in every hipster’s stocking with the holiday special, Winter in Portlandia (10:30 p.m. Friday).
Starring Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armisen and musician Carrie Brownstein, Portlandia pokes fun at quirky popular culture trends of Portland, Ore., and across the country. From freegans to artisanal light bulb makers to Battlestar Galactica fanatics, everyone’s fair game in this addictive sketch comedy series.
Expect familiar faces and exciting guest stars in this seasonal special — Bobby Moynihan (SNL) will swing by feminist book store and Portlandia staple Women and Women First as he guest stars as Candace’s son (though she doesn’t like to force a gender on anyone). Other bits involve running a food cart during winter months and Peter and Nance going low-carb for the holidays.
Like what you see? Check back for the new season of Portlandia at 10 p.m. Fridays on IFC starting Jan. 4.
WEDNESDAY DEC. 12
Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – Claire and Cameron fix up an abandoned baseball field when the boys unexpectedly make the little league playoffs. Gloria tries to communicate with her unborn baby using a microphone — it’s funny because she’s already so loud!
Barbara Walters’ The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2012 (9:30 p.m., ABC) – Interviews with Chris Christie, Seth MacFarlane, One Direction and others. Apparently Babs is a boy band fan.
American Horror Story: Asylum (10 p.m., FX) – Holy AHS crossover: Dylan McDermott (whose butt cheeks starred in Season One) returns to the series as a shocking modern-day character. Creeptastic Briarcliff patient Pepper also makes a comeback and we finally get some answers about those aliens.
THURSDAY DEC. 13
Glee (9 p.m., Fox) – Brace yourself, ladies. It’s a Love Actually-themed episode.
Project Runway All Stars (9 p.m., Lifetime) – It’s a Project Runway perfect storm as the designers take on the fan fave unconventional challenge and a holiday theme.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (10 p.m., FX) – The gang gets fancy at one of Philly’s finest restaurants, only to lose all self respect one-upping each other.
The League (10:30 p.m., FX) – Kevin is blackmailed by Ellie’s boyfriend and Pete reconnects with his high school crush, Frank “The Body” Gibiatti’s little sister. In an additional new episode, Deion Sanders buys Andre’s former loft; Rafi and Dirty Randy (Seth Rogen is ba-aack) prepare for the apocalypse.
FRIDAY DEC. 14
Whisker Wars (10 p.m., IFC) – Jack Passion heads to enemy grounds as the Texas National Beard and Moustache Championships kick off in Austin. The hometown boys of the Austin Facial Hair Club and Brooklyn’s Myk O’Connor prepare to put Passion in his place.
SATURDAY DEC. 15
Cops (Season Premiere, 8 p.m., Fox) – This 25th season — rumored to be the iconic series’ last — features particularly strange arrests.
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – SNL 1984-1985 alum Martin Short hosts; Sir Paul McCartney performs.
SUNDAY DEC. 16
Dexter (Season Finale, 9 p.m., Showtime) – Surprise, mothafuckas! Whether he’s alive, imagined or in zombie form, Sgt. Doakes is back in this seventh season finale. And talk about the worst Christmas ever: Hannah’s in prison, LaGuerta arrests Dexter and Deb may reach her breaking point. Certainly an interesting set-up for the eighth and final season of Dexter.
Homeland (Season Finale, 10 p.m., Showtime) – It seems like most of the conflict has been resolved at this point, which hopefully means we’re in for a surprising twist. The real remaining question is how can there be a third season without Nazir?
MONDAY DEC. 17
How I Met Your Mother (8 p.m., CBS) – In this HIMYM double-header, Marshall and Lily run into an old college bud (Seth Green) and Robin tries to get Patrice fired from WWN as Barney plans to propose to the unlikely companion.
Gossip Girl (Series Finale, 8 p.m., CW) – After six seasons of Upper East Side drama, the series comes to a close and Gossip Girl’s identity (Kristen Bell) is revealed.
CONTACT JAC KERN : [email protected] or @jackern