ANOTHER PERIOD returned for its second season, and I forgot how much I missed it. Best described as Downton Abbey meets Keeping Up with the Kardashians, this show from Natasha Leggero and Ricki Lindhome is definitely a niche comedy, but it’s so well done, looking/feeling like a reality show with hip hop beats and flashy establishing shots between scenes, but skewering both the antiquated notions and traditions in 1902 Newport society and culture today.
This episode picks up where last season ended. Lillian (Leggero) and Beatrice (Lindhome) are still banished from Bellacourt Manor, but the backlash from the exposé is even greater than we saw. The Commodore (David Koechner) is going broke, as no one wants to work with a family with such a scandalous reputation. His business manager, played by Jim O’Heir (Jerry Gergich from Parks and Rec), suggests marrying off Hortense, the third Bellacourt sister, but quickly changes his mind after having dinner with her. I love how the show has now recast Hortense three times, never once acknowledging the change. First, she was played by Artemis Pebadni, then Lauren Ash, and now that Ash has left for Superstore, Lauren Flans is taking over. Welcome, new Hortense! Sorry you got called a “shit sandwich.”
Lillian and Beatrice are living with local townswoman Penelope (Lauren Lapkus), but have fallen victim to the fast-paced bi-monthly news cycle, so they’re no longer the talk of the town. Instead, everyone is fawning over Harriet Tubman. Lillian and Beatrice immediately consult her on how to become famous. In Another Period’s gloriously unhinged world, Tubman is a Kris Jenner-type obsessed with branding and furthering the Tubman name. Since Lillian and Beatrice have no personal brands beyond diamonds and incest, she suggests a stunt to get their names out there—going over the Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Meanwhile, back at the Manor, Peepers (Michael Ian Black) interviews replacements for Chair (Christina Hendricks), who’s still pregnant, but in a coma following Blanche (Beth Dover) pushing her down the stairs last season. In an insane yet hilarious development, Blanche’s short stay in the sanitarium seems to given her a split personality. Her evil alter ego encourages her to kill Chair, but Chair’s water breaks. She finds Garfield (Armen Weitzman), who recruits new hire Flobelle (Alice Hunter) to help deliver the baby. I have to say, Weitzman’s voice is one of my favorite things about this series. It’s a high-pitched, affected squeak that grows increasingly hysterical as he gets more and more worked up. Passive-aggressive Dr. Goldberg (Moshe Kasher) finally helps, and baby Kermit is born.
To save the family from ruin, the Commodore decides to end Lillian and Beatrice’s marriages to Victor (Brian Huskey) and Albert (David Wain) so that they can remarry richer, more successful men. Of course, since Victor and Albert are gay, they’re ecstatic. Now that they don’t have to have monthly procreation sex with their wives, there’s more time for lounging around in ridiculous hats painting nudes, which is what they’re doing when the Commodore finds them to deliver the news.
The Commodore dispatches Peepers to find Lillian and Beatrice and bring them back home. Michael Ian Black is on fire this episode. From his overly complicated interviews for Chair’s replacement, to his dramatic exit full of longing looks from Dodo’s (Paget Brewster) room after warning her that the Commodore wants her gone, to him throwing Penelope’s baby to make a point he’d already won, he’s consistently hilarious. He finds the sisters right after they’ve gone over the falls. They survive, but Tubman usurps the attention, playing it off as a publicity stunt for her upcoming line of barrel bathtubs. Get that money, Harriet!
There’s no sight of scumbag servant Hamish (Brett Gelman) or the Bellacourt son/Beatrice’s lover, Frederick (Jason Ritter) this episode, but overall, it was a strong episode that reminded me of just how special this show is. It has a talented cast, an outrageous sense of humor, and smart satire mixed with appealingly lowbrow humor. What more could you possibly want in a show?
Season 2, Episode 1 (S02E01)
Another Period airs Wednesdays at 10PM on Comedy Central
Jennifer Trofa lives for two things: spreading the “Superstore” gospel and themed “Law & Order: SVU” marathons on USA.
Jennifer Trofa | Contributor