Review: ‘Another Period’

Helen Keller is known for her thoughtful quotes and overcoming adversity, but did you know she once attempted to gouge the eyes out of someone while on a coke bender?

Comedy Central’s Another Period, a hilarious parody that’s a cross between Keepin’ Up with the Kardashians and Downton Abbey, introduces us to the Bellacourt family in Rhode Island in 1902, just after the Claudette sisters have died from tuberculosis and there’s an opening in the “400 Most Important White People” club.

If these are the 1900s Kardashians, then Lillian (Natasha Leggero) is clearly Kim, the sister who’s fed cheeses at the ring of a bell, and Beatrice (Riki Lindhome, of Garfunkel and Oates) is Kourtney, who’s in an inappropriate relationship (not with a sniveling brat like Scott Disick, but worse: her brother Frederick played by Jason Ritter). Meanwhile, Khloe would be Hortense, the smart but less glamorous sister, played by the wonderful Artemis Pebdani (whom you may remember from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia).

But one thing Another Period does that the Kardashians would NEVER do is feature the help (one only wishes KUWTK would have shown the maids doing laundry after Kim and Kourney’s competition over who had the smelliest vagina).

Christina Hendricks plays Celine, the newest maid to arrive at the Bellacourt estate, who acts as the Peggy Olsen of this series, in that we see the goings-on through her eyes (until the end of the episode where we learn even SHE has secrets). However, Celine loses her name shortly after being introduced and is called Chair for there on out because a maid wouldn’t have a name like Celine (although Barb would work). It’s great to see Hendricks shedding her sultry Joan image!

While period pieces combined with comedy can be a bit of a gamble, Another Period features a confident cast that really goes for it. What other show would have the gall to include a drinking contest between Annie Sullivan (Kate Flannery) and Keller (Shoshanna Stern, who looks an awful lot like Vanessa Bayer)?

Michael Ian Black, who plays the head butler named Mr. Peepers, steals the scenes he’s in with his one-liners (“Do you think I was named Mr. Peepers? I was once known as Mitch”), and David Wain and Brian Huskey play forbidden lovers looking for war as an excuse to get away (they can’t say what war except that it’s “an important one”).

The supporting cast is what will carry this series, with so much talent that it’s overwhelming. But if I had to choose any one character to focus on, it would be the Kim of the crew. Natasha Leggero has long been the supporting player (see her as Bunny on Reno:911), but it looks like she’s finally getting to play lead and do it well (“When I get done with her, being deaf and blind is going to be the leas t of her problems”). I can’t wait to see what they do with her leaked sex phonograph.

Another Period airs Tuesday nights at 10:30pm EST on Comedy Central. 

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