The personal journey of matriarch, Christine (Louie Anderson), in the latter part of the second season of Baskets, was some of the finest television I had watched all of last year. Throughout her life, she had been shot down by naysayers from pursuing her dreams and interests. She resigned herself to a traditional life of a mild-mannered daughter and housewife. Fast forward to present day, she realizes she can achieve more in life and has transitioned into an empowered woman who is now the CEO of her own company.
Inspired by her new beau, Ken, who has his own family carpet business, Christine buys the local rodeo to help out her twin sons (Zach Galifianakis) get back on their feet. The business allows Chip to continue pursuing a career as a clown and allows Dale another chance to manage a business after being fired from his old for-profit university. Season three begins with the Baskets family trying to get the rodeo up and running again.
[Spoilers for 3.1 Ahead!]
Dale has started with logistics of the new business. He’s hired new staff and just picked up three new stallions at a low price. Chip, on the other hand, is having trouble transitioning into his added responsibilities in the office. He doesn’t know how to work the phones and literally carries one into his mom’s office to transfer a call.
That phone call brought good news as a local television station wants to do a segment on the rodeo. Christine’s excitement turns to anxiety when she starts stressing over what she’ll wear for her interview. On suggestion from Ken, she decides to make a new outfit.
While busy creating a dress, she confesses to Martha (Martha Kelly) about her love of sewing when she was younger. She enjoyed creating doilies and even created her own wedding dress. Her late husband would always criticize her designs and his reaction after first seeing the wedding dress on the day they married was enough to discourage her from sewing until now. A painful reminder of her past, Christine asks Martha to donate her old wedding dress to the Good Will.
Meanwhile, it seems as though Dale isn’t as good at his jobs as he thinks he is. The cowboys he’s hired don’t respect him, and he was swindled into purchasing wild horses. They even attack him when showing them off to his mom. Since the horses were going to be a centerpiece of the television story, Chip scores some tranquilizers to keep them sedated for the shoot.
The morning of the news visit, Christine can’t hide her frustration with her newly made dress. When she tries it on, the sleeves rip and the rhinestones begin to fall off. With little time before her interview, she turns to an old reliable friend. Her husband may not have appreciated it, but she was really proud of her wedding dress. She heads to the Good Will to repurchase it and pairs it with a chic belt, cowboy hat and boots to create a winning outfit. The reporter even complements her on her fashion. The puff piece is a success, even though they decide not to display the horses, and with free publicity, the community can expect the grand opening of the Baskets Family Rodeo in the near future.
Although she didn’t experience any groundbreaking epiphanies this episode like last season, it was good to see Christine reclaim another aspect of her life that she gave up because the people in her life weren’t supportive: her sewing. Also, by wearing her old wedding dress for such an important event, a TV interview, it was an act of defiance towards her late husband. It was even sweeter to receive the complement to reaffirm her talent in sewing and cast out any self-doubt.
Even though her husband has passed away, that doesn’t mean Christine has given up on love. There’s no couple on television that I buy more than her and Ken. Though they converse over Skype, because of their long-distance romance, he provides encouraging words that she never received before. He has faith in her creativity and sewing skills and doesn’t hesitate to say how good his girl looks in any outfit. Even if it might just be a blanket.
This was a solid premiere as it sets up what to partially expect for the season. Obviously, there will be a focus on the trials and tribulations of establishing and running the rodeo. I’m sure hijinks will ensue and maybe Christine will regret not buying the Arby’s franchise instead.
Interesting episode notes:
- Chip’s talent manager used to be a clown named Kablammo who used to light her farts on fire.
- Martha’s not ready for marriage because she wants to see what all the polyamorous stuff is about.
- The Baskets have already made one improvement to the rodeo as it has twice as many water fountains.
Baskets airs Tuesday nights at 10:00 pm on FX.