Published on April 17th, 2018 | by Ian Goodwillie0
Another Period is the brainchild of comedians Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome, a satirical send up of period pieces and reality TV, among other things.
It’s hard to find TV shows that are effectively satirical, legitimately funny, and original. In an era where we take way too much way too seriously, good comedy is even more valuable. Fortunately, we have shows like Another Period. And it’s a show that can be incredibly difficult to describe to people who have never seen it.
If you have ever wondered what the love child Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Downton Abbey would look like in turn of the 20th century Newport, Rhode Island, this series has you covered.
I guess it wasn’t that difficult.
Another Period tells the story of the Bellacourts, a well to do family living in overt opulence and benefitting from an even more obvious class structure than the one that exists now. The focus of the series are the misadventures of Beatrice and Lillian Bellacourt, a pair of selfish, brain dead aristocrats with little redeeming value as human beings. Lillian is the most selfish of the pair while Beatrice is the most frightening; she keeps her intelligence hidden so she doesn’t offend anyone with it and constantly alludes to a litany of horrifying things she’s done.
The other Bellacourt children are equally ridiculous. Hortense, also known as the ugly sister, appears to be more socially conscientious and empathetic but is, in reality, as selfish and conceited as her sisters. Their brother, Lord Frederick, is an adult child in an incestuous relationship with Beatrice who gets a lot of things handed to him he does not deserve simply because he’s a man.
Beyond the children, their parents, their associates (no character in this show really has friends), and their servants all play huge parts in the series.
All of these ridiculous characters are given a narrative structure through a satire of Downton Abbey while using a storytelling device similar to Keeping Up with the Kardashians. It’s shot like a reality series, complete with the confession cam moments when the characters push the story along by talking right into the camera in a private setting.
Another Period is the brainchild of comedians Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome, who also star in the series as the Bellacourt sisters Beatrice and Lillian respectively. You may know Lindhome best as part of the comedy music duo Garfunkel and Oates alongside Kate Micucci, who also appears in Another Period. And you might know Leggero as a regular on the Comedy Central Roasts, @midnight, or as a whore in a variety of TV shows and movies. That is not meant as a dig. While all of her roles do not fall into one category, Leggero’s IMDB page has more than a few listings like Pantsless Hooker on Reno 911!, Stripper #1 on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Annie on Let’s Be Cops. Okay, the name of that last one doesn’t fit the pattern but the part she plays in that movie sure does.
Ultimately, what matters most is that Lindhome and Leggero are two of the smartest, funniest comedians out there today. And this series does a great showcasing that, for them and for the other great comedians on it. Paget Brewster, Michael Ian Black, David Koechner, Jason Ritter, David Wain, Moshe Kasher, and Thomas Lennon all play parts in the series as parts of the Bellacourt family and their inner circle.
Even that listing of amazing talent doesn’t start to dig into the real-life characters used. It is, after all, a historical comedy. They’ve drawn key figures from history like Harriet Tubman, Charlie Chaplin, Mark Twain, Mohandas Gandhi, Albert Einstein, and Pablo Picasso into this insanity. Their portrayal of Helen Keller alone is worth the price of admission. One of her episodes features a beverage called cocaine wine. They even use a young Adolf Hitler in an episode, seemingly blaming the Jewish characters on the show for being the root of his actions an adult due to their bullying. In their defense, his art was pretty awful.
This is a deceptive series. It is, on the surface, crass and offensive, frequently drawing its comedy from lowbrow place rooted in racial, religious, and gender insensitivity. But it’s important to remember that they are drawing on the realities of the era and using them to skewer the realities of today.
It’s a reality TV show satire.
It’s a historical comedy.
It’s a period piece satire.
And most importantly it’s damn funny. What you have in Another Period is a complex comedy worth multiple re-watches thanks to how much is going on in the structure of the series. It’s well-designed and well-executed, and one of the more unique shows out there.