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Shout by Andrew Phillips

Baskets: Season 1

1x02 Trainee

I mentioned in my review for Episode One that this show is dry, but I had no idea how dry.

I freely admit that I am currently obsessed with the Martha Brooks character.

She is achingly charming and inexplicably enthralling, despite her incredibly flat affect and twitchy eyebrows. It's such a puzzle. Is this autism? Does she need her anti-depressant meds tweaked? I watched some of the actress's stand-up on YouTube, and I honestly can't tell what is even going on with her. I'm glad comedy shows like this are featuring different personality types other than purely manic, but should a character's social awkwardness and super blasé personality even be a source of laughs?

And how does she even function on such an improv-rich show? Because, on a practical level, a character like Martha should create an impenetrable bubble of pure anti-improv. And is her falling into Baskets' orbit really comedy, or ultimately tragedy? Martha just adds so many levels of cringe and concern to a show that's already packed with it.

Somehow, Louie Anderson in drag is the least problematic thing on this show.

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