Comedy Central has been on a roll when it comes to female written and led shows. The monumental success of Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City are just a couple examples of the quality shows the network is releasing. With so much new content being released, they can’t all possibly be winners. That’s where Another Period comes in.
Another Period is the latest endeavor from the comedic minds of Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome. The show is set around the aristocratic life of a New England family living in Newport, Rhode Island in 1902. The Bellacourts are like your typical rich, self-entitled family, and they won’t let you forget it. The father and head of the family, Commodore Bellacourt (David Koechner), is frequently away on business. That leaves a very self-medicating mother to watch over the household and her three daughters and one son: Lillian (Natasha Leggero), Beatrice (Riki Lindhome), Hortense (Artemis Pebdani), and Frederick (Jason Ritter).
The real people who keep the household running, the servants, introduce a new woman in their flock. Celine (Christina Hendricks), AKA Chair by the Bellacourts, is the newest edition to the household staff, and right away she is dehumanized. She’s only putting up with it because she has a secret of her own. It seems that early 20th century life was all about secrets, because siblings Beatrice and Frederick have a secret love they are hiding…in plain sight.
Unlike the title would suggest, this isn’t just another period piece TV show. This show adds a much needed self-aware twist to the genre by having it reality TV style. We follow their daily, leisure-filled lives as they traverse common 1902 pitfalls and attempt to climb the social ladder. The show makes a lot of era references and gags that are meant to remark on how ludicrous some of the beliefs and practices were at the time. All the elements come together to bring us a satirical look at what life would be like during that time, and in a very broad way, it reflects our own culture and standards.
This episode introduces Helen Keller as what we can assume will be one of many time period guests this show will employ. The gags have been fairly referential at this point, poking fun at the past and present, and this is where the show succeeds the most. When the jokes land, they offer up laughs galore, but when they miss, the mass rolling of our eyes becomes almost audible. Their failure comes when they deviate from their social commentary and the classist/sexist humor they start off with and devolve into slapstick gags and physical humor. With that kind of humor, a little of it goes a long way, and they overdid it in this episode.
If they continue with their premise, focusing on cultural differences and similarities, then I think this show could be something amazing, especially with skilled comedians and talented actors like Christina Hendricks at the helm. Either that, or even the jokes it delivers well could go stale before the end of the season. Let’s stay optimistic, like the rumor that people are living into their 50s those days.
Final Thoughts: Another Period delivers enough palatable jokes to keep us hooked for at least another episode. Like the early 1900s, the spirit of promise is there, but like Helen Keller (as the show likes to blatantly remind us), we may never see it. This is nowhere near Comedy Central’s worst comedy, but it has yet to reach the high comedic standard that has been established for it.
RATING: ★★★★★★ (6/10 stars)