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Is 'Baskets' Wrapping Up a Great Series With a Mediocre Season?
August 15, 2019  | By Mike Hughes
 


In a moment of exasperation, Christine Baskets says what viewers have been thinking: "Sometimes, I think you just want to fail at life," she tells her son Chip.

She's right, you know. That's what has kept FX's Baskets from being a good show and, alas, what dragged down the first season of Showtime's Kidding.

Now Baskets is wrapping up its fourth and final season. It has a terrific episode this Thursday (August 15 at 10 p.m. ET), then a so-so finale a week later. Kidding will start its second season on November 3 at 10 p.m. ET.

Both have talented movie stars – Jim Carrey in Kidding and Zach Galifianakis (top) in Baskets. Both go with a notion that has worked since Charlie Chaplin's days – the down-and-out, sad-sack hero. But then, alas, they overdo it.

In Kidding, Carrey plays the beloved star of a children's TV show. He's been wracked by the death of his child and by his divorce; he even secretly bought the house next to his ex-wife, to spy on her. It was a dreary start, but Carrey promises things will be better this season.

"You're going to see a lot of hopefulness and a lot of positive and really way-out-there, surreal creativity," he told the Television Critics Association. “We're singing, we're doing things that they shouldn't allow us to do."

In Baskets, things never did get better. Chip (Galifianakis) returned from an expensive French clown college, with no future and with a French wife who was only using him to get to the U.S. He joined a broken-down rodeo which his mother eventually bought.

Baskets is populated with great characters. Galifianakis is both Chip and his twin brother Dale, a former scammer, now broke; Martha Kelly – a drolly funny comedian – is Chip's perpetually monotone friend Martha; and Louie Anderson (right) is Christine, the mom. (That's not gimmick casting. Anderson has a sweetly vague approach that is perfect. He's received Emmy nominations in each of the first three seasons, winning once, and has great moments Thursday.)

Still, the utter hopelessness of Chip's life has given us nowhere to go. He perked up when he became CEO of the rodeo, but now the state plans to buy the property to make room for a bullet train.

That leads to Thursday, with the family descending on the state Capitol to protest. It's a terrific episode – big, broad, warm, and funny.

A week later, alas, Baskets returns to its normal state for its final episode.

 
 
 
 
 
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