The Onion joins Portland’s media scene: ‘It’s like a fairy tale.’

In case you missed it, late last week, just as many of us were packing up for a long Veterans Day weekend, the satirical news publication The Onion carried a story with a Portland dateline.

The story — “Woman Always Dreamed Of Opening Her Own Sparsely Attended Dance Studio” — pokes a bit of fun at the upstart Portland’s reputation on the national scene as a place where people go to get away from the bigger cities and make a go as entrepreneurs.

Said the fictitious dance studio owner in the story:

Just a year ago, I could have never imagined I’d leave my promising dance career in New York, come back home, and sink my life savings into a studio space that’s so bare and empty that the sight of it makes even interested potential patrons uncomfortable. But look at me now: I’m two months behind on rent and I’ve made myself physically ill from stress and lack of sleep. It’s like a fairy tale.

A little less than a year ago, when I posted on here about some comments comedian Louis C.K. made about Portland being “the lowest depths of misery,” some folks around social media seemed to think I was offended by the ribbing. To be clear, I wasn’t then and am not now with The Onion story.

Portland gets enough plaudits and back-patting material from nationwide sources that we could use a little roast now and again. And the time-worn story of metropolitans coming back to Portland to live the good life is ripe for spoofing.

I think news reporters perhaps get the biggest kick out of The Onion of anybody, and I’m no different. (I also think it’s hilarious when people post Onion stories, which are all comic material, on social media thinking the ridiculously hyperbolic pieces are real. You should see how angry some folks get about stories that are nowhere near true.)

This isn’t the first time The Onion has been to Maine (so to speak). In 2008, for instance, they had this television-style news report about part-time Kennebunkport resident and former First Lady Barbara Bush running aground off the coast. The Pine Tree State has popped up a few times in the news briefs (a monkfish from Boothbay Harbor telling a reporter that he wishes monkfish weren’t “all the rage” on the culinary scene, for instance).

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.