Season 3, Episode 1
Mostly I remember brown.
It’s been almost a full two years since we’ve last seen the Bellacourts. So long that one would be forgiven if they forgot the name of most of the characters and their backstories (like this reviewer). But, even during the first scene, memories of watching the show can come flooding back in an instant. Seeing The Commodore cowardly protect his family from the threat of the bank taking their home and how Lillian and Beatrice only want to save their things (Lillian’s best friend is said to be a silver serving dish) is comically engaging. Even with a prolonged absence (brought on by Comedy Central because they wanted to pair this show and Drunk History together), Another Period establishes itself as the entity we knew it as.
First and foremost, this is a reality show set in the gilded age – a period of time in which it is difficult to become famous. But darn it those Bellacourt sisters are trying. This season, they really have a chance to boost their popularity. In season two, their third sister – Hortense – dies in a buggy crash while fighting for women’s suffrage. Her death sparks a new push for the women’s right to vote as the fairer sex bands together to go to Congress. Soon enough, they realize they can’t pull the signatures they need and rely on Lillian and Beatrice to be the faces of the Newport Association of Gal Spinsters (NAGS for short). It also helps that the sisters put on a “bathing costume car wash” or the closest this show will get to nudity.
The jokes about the NAGS unappealing nature are very good. One has an eye patch; another thinks she can attract men with a shrieking screech. They couldn’t convince any one to do a thing for them. But, by putting Lillian and Beatrice in the front lines, they can accomplish more than they’d be able to. Sadly, the plan has a few kinks with the sisters being on the forefront. They’re not too bright and disapprove of women’s voting rights. Not to mention the return of Hortense (played this season by the always welcome Donna Lynn Champlin) which leads to a courtroom brawl.
Back at the mansion, the bank is not foreclosing thanks to Dodo returning with her smuggled abbey cash and a new lover, Black Donahue. Before their affair is squashed, the ever vigilant Mr. Peepers is hellbent on keeping Dodo as the matriarch of the household. Black is demanding and verbally cruel as he stops the workers from doing their jobs to listen to his bad music. Boy, is it bad. But he’s dedicated – spending a bundle of Dodo’s cash by ordering instruments from the Amazon (the jungle which acts like the modern website). Black’s character is played so blissfully well thanks to Jermaine Clements’ crude depiction of a priest who takes no crap. He’s blunt, too, as he lets down Jason Ritter’s Frederick by telling him – constantly – that the two of them will indeed not have sex.
Should you watch “Congress?”
Another Period was missed for the past couple of years. Its brand of “Kardashians meets Comedy Bang! Bang!” hits the right spots for fans of either. The best parts come when the viewer is in on the joke. It’s easy to turn your brain off when watching a reality show but one with as many characters, stories and soapish comedy is always welcome.