If one of us needed the other person, they would come over any time and spend the night on the couch, you know, during whatever we were going through.
Last season, 3.7 million viewers tuned in to watch characters like the impossibly earnest married couple Peter and Nance; or Toni and Candace—the gals who run the feminist bookstore Women & Women First; or Carrie and Fred, who seem to be a lot like the real-life Brownstein and Armisen, with the added bonus of being super tight with Portland’s mayor (played by Kyle Mac Lachlan). It’s like, now I’ve been doing for almost half the amount of time I did Sleater-Kinney, and Sleater-Kinney, that just seemed like I did that forever,” Brownstein says.
[People] just see me as this person they know from television, and then they listen to Sleater-Kinney and they think, ‘What is this scary music? The photo shoot over, she’s back in her street clothes—black jeans and boots, a distressed T-shirt, and a floral panel hat, the brim of which she tugs up and down as we talk.
For example, the characters Nina and Lance are lovers, but Brownstein plays Lance, the man, and Armisen plays Nina, the woman.
“Both Fred and I get to explore gender fluidity, and that’s a real bonus of being a performer.
It was almost like we had been going along the same track, so there was an instant comfort.” That instant comfort only deepened as the two began seeing more of each other.
“When we really started to work on [in 2009], there just was such a sense of being family and protecting one another.And not just any band, of course, but one of the most iconic feminist groups of the late ’90s and early aughts. Brownstein met Tucker while they were both attending Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, the epicenter of the riot grrrl movement.“I’m like, ‘But wait a second, that’s what I did first! “They just see me as this person they know from television, and then they listen to Sleater-Kinney and they think, ‘What is this scary music? They formed Sleater-Kinney, named for an Interstate exit near Olympia, in 1994 (Weiss joined two years later), and quickly gained a devoted following, even among mainstream press (in 1997, they were named one of , Sleater-Kinney’s seventh full-length, came out, they were more popular than ever.Tucker had become a mom, making road life difficult. “In order to keep that galvanizing quality, there has to be volatility. And emerging from such a high-profile chapter of her life only added to the pressure. “Our friendship started in stages because we were on opposite coasts so we didn’t get to spend that much time together.And despite her ability to rule the stage, Brownstein was fighting crippling anxiety that led to panic attacks and hospital visits. “The identity that most people related me to was suddenly going to become something historical. But there was always a shorthand that we had,” she says.“[You can’t just say] ‘Dude, I liked all of your Instagram photos, so we’re best friends, right? Comedy might seem like a leap from Brownstein’s rambunctious band days, but she assures me it was only a difficult transition for her fans.