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REVIEW

This show took me a long time to warm up to, and I'm a bit surprised that I sticked with it for long enough to figure out that it's not entirely bad. After two quite poor initial episodes, and a mediocre third one, the characters finally lost some of their flatness in the fourth, and the show developed some heart, which to me is an important part of any really good comedy.

If you're expecting some of Louis C.K.'s subtlety and understatement due to his involvement with the show, you'll be surprised, and probably not in a good way. Characters here are over-the-top, and few of them have any likable sides, at least initially. There's no social commentary as for example in "Louie". The humour stems mostly from watching how the characters manage to make their already bad situations worse and worse.

I usually enjoy stories about lost, underdog characters trying to make their way, whether they are upliftingly comical (Baskets is not) or sentimental and melancholic. The over-the-top-ness of these figures and plots just made it really hard for me to relate to them. Chip Baskets' life dream of becoming a classically trained clown is just put out there, and never really grounded or made believable. The same lack of depth makes it hard to care about any of the other characters initially. They're clumsy for the sake of being clumsy, mean for the sake of being mean, or weird for the sake of being weird.

The show starts to get more interesting to watch when we start seeing that these characters are more self-aware than we were led to believe, and that they do care about their lives and what happens to them. So after having seen episode four, finally, I was given reasons to care about these characters, and their comic failings some meaning. I'm actually looking forward to watching the next episode now, for more than just the sake of giving it one more chance to sell itself to me. If they managed to round out the plot nicely towards the end of the season, I can see this as staying in my memory as a quaint little character comedy which delayed the character development and touching moments just a little bit too much, making it a lot harder to end up liking it than it would've had to be.

However, it's probably worth having a look at anyway for, if nothing else, Louie Anderson's brilliant performance as Chip's mother.

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