‘Another Period’s’ Best Gag: Suffrage and Hysteria


Sex, politics, and sexual politics were on the menu last night for an even-more-gross-than-usual episode of Another Period. Edith Wharton can’t even bother to turn over in her grave for this kind of stuff. Everything from gay conversion therapy to women against feminism to Freud to manual relief of hysteria got touched upon in half an hour — and everyone in the Bellacourt family also got, um, touched upon, before the curtain fell.

Women’s suffrage is a threat to Lillian and Beatrice, who are living in “the golden age of women not having to do anything,” and must invent pastimes like “cream time,” in which they eat the cream out of pastries and throw the shells at servants, and chowder baths, the second-best type of bath they take on Tuesdays.

But a possible political career for their dimwitted brother Frederick and a budding feminist sister, Hortense, force them to take a stand — against women’s rights. They crash a Votes for Women rally and declare the sovereign right for all women to be idle. Except for servants…

Dueling slogans (“No Votes for Women” vs. ‘”No, Votes for Women!”) get very confusing, and all the brawling and stabbing results in the ladies promptly get diagnosed with hysteria by the visiting Dr. Sigmund Freud, played with a amusingly off-kilter Austrian accent by Chris Parnell.

And he prescribes the traditional “stimulative” remedy for hysteria, with a twist.

Meanwhile, Dr. Freud has also diagnosed Frederick with homosexuality, which must be cured before he can join the Senate. Frederick’s incest doesn’t bother the good Herr Doctor, naturally, nor does his sub-moronic intelligence.

Victor, who is actually homosexual, is incensed and shows his frustration with Frederick’s diagnosis by beating up on the staff, as per usual.

Later, Hamish will put the gentlemen through their paces in a very failed, and very silly, gay conversion therapy scene.

The other major subplots — involving Chair using sex to get the Commodore to accommodate her needs and Hortense having a food-heavy affair with the hot new chef — continue to focus too exclusively on bodily fluids and grunting sounds. Sigh. Groan. Splat.

As much as I enjoy cream time and chowder baths myself, I have to admit that I’m sort of over the tired gags that take up too much of Another Period.