TV Club: Playing House: Cashmere Burka

I’m a sucker for the “Let’s put on a show” genre of television and “Cashmere Burka” is a worthy entry. These episodes tend to work the best when the content of the play is taken seriously, despite its actual quality, and the circumstances surrounding the mounting of the show becomes the comedy (see also: Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp for another recent example). That works in “Cashmere Burka,” mostly because Jane Kaczmarek is a fantastic comedic actress.

Throughout Malcolm In the Middle, Kaczmarek was exceedingly good at playing this married mother figure, the matriarch of one of the disappearing representation of blue collar families on TV. Gwen is so diametrically opposed to everything that Lois was. Gwen wears designer clothes and feels the need to name her autobiographical play (written on the pseudonym of Nell Carter because “it’s not the right time” for her …

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