TV Club: A dreamy, despairing Baskets explores familial tension

The best thing about Baskets has to be its offbeat, tragicomic tone. Most new series’ struggle with a few things right out the gate—predictable storytelling, clumsy character introductions, a vaguely rough approach—but the best shows almost always have an innate grasp of tone, how it wants to feel to an audience. The storytelling in Baskets may be flexible, and the humor can range from broad slapstick to strange dialogue delivery, but its tone is set, and arguably the one thing the series asks of its viewers is to lock into it. For the past three weeks, the series has adopted a feeling of low-humming dread; even at its funniest, it’s a dark show not because of content, but because of its sense of dreamy despair, like everyone’s half-awake and partially aware of the sadness of their situation.

“Easter in Bakersfield” is the best episode of Baskets …

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