‘Baskets’ succeeds with dark humor and drama

Megan Hanner

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvsx0EaDdQM

Courtesy of FX Network.

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“Baskets” is the newest addition to the FX Network. It tells the story of a struggling rodeo clown with a mixture of drama and humor but at the expense of the characters. The show was launched this year and recently ended its first season.

Being the home of shows like “American Horror Story,” FX tends to take on shows that are different from what can typically be found on television. “Baskets” is rated TV-MA and is meant for an older audience.

Zack Galifianakis, star of the “The Hangover” trilogy, is the executive producer, writer and co-creator of this new comedy series. He also plays the main character in the show, Chip Baskets, and his twin brother, Dale. Notable comedian Louis C. K. also worked with Galifianakis as a writer, producer and co-creator as well.

Chip is a clown that, even with his lack of speaking the language, attended clown school in France. He returns home to his town in California with a rather dissociated wife, and is forced to deal with his crumbling personal and family life. He befriends Martha, played by Martha Kelly, after he gets into an accident and she is his insurance agent.

Still wanting to work as a clown, Chip finds work as a rodeo clown. He is ultimately faced with the decision to give up what he loves, or do what is right.

What makes this show enjoyable is that it often balances the line between comedy and drama. There are moments of blatant humor, but the show tackles tough issues as well. These issues include failing relationships, toxic family situations and financial burden.

The humor changes continuously. The scenes of Chip doing his rodeo clown performances were blatantly hilarious, while other times the humor takes a little thought to understand the joke. The dynamic humor makes this a different sort of comedy series and worth the watch if one is not into totally-obvious jokes.

However, it is often hard to sympathize with, or even like, some of the characters in the show. Chip often likes to put Martha down and take advantage of her, and constantly struggles to fix his broken marriage with a wife that has no interest in him. As a main character, he is sometimes hard to sympathize with.

Dale, Chip’s twin brother, is almost impossible to like. Dale is the dean of a small college, a husband and a father. He is self-centered, and it seems as if he is meant to be a source of jokes, but often is just mean to those he is supposed to love.

Often, the serious aspects of “Baskets” make it seem like rooting for the characters is a given, but the show sometimes makes it difficult to do that. The character that is the easiest to like is Christine Baskets, played by comedian Louie Anderson. Christine is the mother to Chip and Dale.

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With its unique and odd humor, “Baskets” is worth a try for anyone looking for a new show. “Baskets” has been renewed for a second season.

Collegian Reporter Megan Hanner can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com.