Thursday, September 1, 2016

Emmy Episodes: Baskets

It’s always my policy to watch every Emmy-nominated episode each year, which leads me to sample a handful of shows that I don’t tune in to on a regular basis. This year, I’m making a special effort to spotlight each of those installments to offer my perspective on shows that I don’t review each week.

Baskets: Season 1, Episode 4 “Easter in Bakersfield” (B-)
Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Louie Anderson)

This has to be oddest nomination of the year, or at least the oddest casting recognized for an Emmy. Louie Anderson has two Daytime Emmys to his name, for his performance in the animated program “Life with Louie” almost twenty years ago. Other than that, one of the top things that pops up on his IMDB page is a link to a list of the 29 Worst Actors of All Time, something that hardly recommends Anderson’s acting abilities. Yet the former “Family Feud” host managed to get cast as the mother of Zach Galifianakis’ twin brothers on FX’s dark comedy. It’s a truly strange but intriguing performance, since there’s no mention of the fact that he’s a man playing a woman. He actually does a pretty solid job, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he ended up taking home the Emmy for this role. His episode submission will only serve to further propel him towards that potential eventuality. It’s Easter, and Christine Baskets wants her clown son Chip to come with her to church. She has to contend with his incessantly disruptive behavior yet still maintains her composure, quietly insulting the woman who tries to say that Chip isn’t doing well and then socializing with Chip’s friend Martha’s parents during lunch afterwards. She even finds out that her son is married and her only question is “French – Canadian?” It’s a peculiar but immensely watchable portrayal, and I really do think that, in a crowded category, Anderson is very likely to hear his name called. I wouldn’t be too disappointed – it’s a committed performance.

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