Tag Archives: Another Period

Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2015 Edition: 42-39

8 Apr

Three new shows up for their first rankings, all of which should be back next year, and a cable comedy in its 10th season. Moving on.

Intro here and 58-55 here and 54-51 here and 50-47 here and 46-43 here.

42. Casual – 2014: Not Eligible

Casual

As I’m getting to this point, I realize that within my rankings-within-rankings of sad white people in Southern California shows, I might have swapped this with Togetherness, but they’re close enough both in reality and on the list that it’s not a huge deal either way. Casual, like many shows at this point in this list has it’s problems; I don’t recommend it heartily and I’m not sure I’d watch it if it was an hour instead of half an hour. That said, it does have points to recommend for it, and the fact that I did watch all of it, and relatively quickly, says a fair amount; there are many shows, even half hours, which I’ve stopped due to lack of momentum. The three primary actors are all excellent, particularly the always great Michaela Watkins. The uniquely close and comfortable family relationship between Watkins, her brother, and her daughter works and holds together the center of a show that could easily spin out of hand as each family member finds his or her way into hit-or-miss adventures. Watkins’ brother (I’m not going to get into names because it’s the last line of this and you’re not going to remember, but he’s played by the sports agent who dated Mindy in the first season of the Mindy Project) has the potential to be obnoxious (and is) at many times, but pulls away and/or shows enough pathos to avoid passing the point of no return.

41. Daredevil – 2014: Not Eligible

Daredevil

As we’re not yet in the land of full-scale recommendations for everyone, Daredevil is only for people with a toleration for the kind of comic superhero tomfoolery Marvel fans have come to expect, but unlike some of the DC properties below, I’m more confident people who like this sort of thing will like Daredevil. The characters aren’t as deeply defined in a season as I’d like them to be, but Daredevil is one of the Marvel characters with a stronger backstory and the street-level organized crime plot of the first season is a welcome counter to the super-powered and universe-spanning problems of the Marvel movies and DC TV shows. I don’t think primary antagonist Kingpin as played by Vincent D’Onofrio is the genius villain that many do, but I’d be remiss to say that he doesn’t bring a manic energy that’s often delightful. Additionally, unlike so many comic villains it’s a pleasant surprise to find one that’s neither emotionless nor crazy, intimidating but not infallible. There are some weaker moments, and the writing can be a little lazy, counting on viewers to connect the dots and follow the idea of where they’re going, because you can pretty much figure it out, but it’s binge-friendly without being House of Cards-stupid; you don’t need to think and digest every episode, but there are thrills to be had from moving forward in the story and you certainly don’t feel dumber having watched it.

40. Another Period – 2014: Not Eligible

Another Period

Another Period is just a stupid, over-the-top comedy about a wealthy family with servants early in 20th century New England, but it’s about as low on period accuracy as could be aside from wearing digital watches and using smart phones. I would guess it was inspired by wanting to mock the upstairs/downstairs Downton Abbey, but all the American actors didn’t feel like putting on British accents all the time. The jokes are fired off at a rapid pace, and while some don’t work, there are more than enough that do, and those that don’t are inoffensive enough to sit through for a couple of good solid laughs an episode. The cast definitely raises it a cut above the material, with many of my favorites like David Wain and Michael Ian Black, and comic relative newcomers like Christina Hendrix and Jason Ritter.

39. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Not Eligible
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

This show and the next show have a lot in common (they were originally in the same post, but got bumped around, so you’ll have to wait to figure out the next show is). They’re both show about ostensibly terrible people which can be awkward and difficult to watch, hands-over-your-eyes stuff, but which are entirely about the laughs. There are half hour shows that are ostensibly comedies that aren’t very funny, there are shows in the Parks & Recreation vein that are true comedies but with deep investment in character and storyline, and there are shows like Sunny and the next that are just for laughs. Thus then, they’re actually relatively easy to judge; if you laugh while watching, they’ve done their job. Last year’s 10th (!) season wasn’t the show’s finest, but managed to be a lot better than it could have been considering how long the show has been on. Sometimes the ideas can feel reused but the characters and the cast know how to get the most from the lines, and while the show can get too meta at some points, a little bit of meta here and there can differentiate the later seasons.

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Summer 2015 Review: Another Period

1 Jul

Another Period

Another Period is a ludicrous, silly show whose primary goal is to simply make you laugh, and fortunately, it does. Another Period is a spoof of Downton Abbey-esque upstairs/downstairs period shows, following a ludicrously wealthy family in New England around the turn of the 20th century.  The characters and dramatic storylines are overly absurd and the humor ranges from a combination of low-brow and clever wordplay to physical slapstick; the vast majority of the characters range from dumb to extremely dumb.

Creators Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome play daughters Lillian and Beatrice respectively, of the family Bellacourt. Both are demanding, immature and petulant. All that separates them is that Lillian has some semblance of intelligence, while Beatrice is a complete moron. Beatrice is married to Albert, played by David Wain, but in love with her brother, Frederick, played by Jason Ritter. Lillian is married to Victor, played by Brian Huskey. Michael Ian Black plays Mr. Peepers, the head butler, and Christina Hendricks is the new servant, originally named Celine, but named Chair by the less-than-sensitive Bellacourts. In total, it’s a very strong stable of comedic personalities, with some welcome faces newer to the world of comedy (Hendricks and Ritter).

The style is well over the top, and some people will merely Another Period is very stupid. And they’re right, it is very stupid. It’s very hard to articulate why some stupid humor is laugh-out-loud hilarious and some stupid humor is mind-numbing and cringe-worthy, and certainly everyone’s line between the two is very different. Another Period though lies squarely on the former side.

Another Period was probably conceived in response to Downton Abbey, and while the show makes hay out of the rich family vs. poor servants dynamic, there’s no attempt to be poignant or clever or meaningful with the period nature. It’s just there to serve as a vein for jokes and comedy. The period nature is ridiculous and flexible truth-wise. There’s no attempt to any reasonable semblance of fidelity; rather there’s an attempt to be as distinctly inaccurate as possible. One character makes a reference to Helen Keller, treating her as we would today rather than then. Guests are served cocaine wine; when Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan object as members of the Temperance Union, they’re told, helpfully, that it’s really mostly cocaine, anyway.  New servant Chair tells the others she has big dreams; the other servants scoff at her dreams of one day working in a factory.

The jokes are scattershot, fired left and right over the place, and they don’t all work by any means. Luckily it’s the type of show where the overall picture isn’t all that important – the show would rather drop a bunch of bad jokes and leave a whole bunch of good jokes in than go for something more refined but possibly less funny. That’s not always a successful formula, but it works here – the gags that don’t work are washed away as soon as something funny happens.

Will I watch it again? Yes. It’s funny, it’s easy to watch, and it’s got lots of people I like. Comedy Central continues its roll.