Besides spoofing reality TV and all the thirsty celebrities that go with it, Another Period operates on the upstairs/downstairs trope found in many a period drama. If Garfield (Armen Weitzman) marks the best developed (and acted) character downstairs then Dodo (Paget Brewster) has been his counterpart upstairs. And that leaves one very pressing question as the second season nears its end: Where the hell is Dodo?
Is anyone else missing the Bellacourt’s matriarch as much as I am? She provided some of the finest acting of the show’s first season. The other actors and actresses served up silly to no end, but Brewster anchored her character’s silliness in the haughty mannerisms of the northeastern upper class at the turn of the 20th century. Her finely tuned accent felt straight out of Bryn Mawr, as if she were Katherine Hepburn’s mother, not Lillian (Natasha Leggero) and Beatrice’s (Riki Lindhome). And it further emphasized the effect of her barbed commentary, like, “I always say ‘Have enough servants to satisfy your every whim, but not enough to murder your family.’” Brewster as Dodo provides Another Period with a comedic weight it desperately needs. She was comedy on a silver platter.
Patriarch Commodore (David Koechner) returned at the end of the first season, ushering in a shift about who managed the family. Not only did Dodo take a backseat to his head of the household position, but Brewster also landed a starring role on the (now canceled) FOX series Grandfathered. It made sense given her new work that she wouldn’t be as involved in Another Period. Although she appeared in the first episode this season—albeit in an opium haze thanks to her addiction—she ran away after learning her husband planned to throw her in an insane asylum for spending most of the family’s money and leaving them broke.
At the time, it seemed as though she was merely going into hiding to escape Commodore’s wrath, but Dodo has remained missing. Former servant Chair—turned “new mother” Celine thanks to her affair with Commodore—has replaced her as the Bellacourt’s new matriarch. But every week I wait with baited breath for the return of my favorite.
This week in “Joplin,” while the Bellacourt sisters tried to make a record with the famous ragtime pianist Scott Joplin (played with a nod to Kanye West’s delusions of grandeur), Peepers can’t shake the sexual awakening he experienced when Dodo—in an opium daze—gave him head last season. That act sends him into a sexual frenzy in “Joplin,” and he finds himself dreaming of her and their brief moment of confused, drug-fueled passion together. But Dodo doesn’t return.
Instead, Peepers breaks down and visits a brothel on Hamish’s (Brett Gelman) recommendation. He finds himself drawn to the most Dodo-like figure there, the madame (Michaela Watkins), but he doesn’t know how to bed her because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Peepers, like any good desexualized servant, is a virgin. When the madame responds in disbelief, he offers, “I mostly just dust.” She attempts to explain the act, saying, “Well, listen, all you gotta do is you take your little willy, and you point, thrust, and go ‘Pow pow!’ til your dick pukes,” but that turns him off (as it would anyone) and she ends their time together by giving him a lesson in jerking off. So Peepers is now sexually active…with himself.
But I digress. It’s understandable that a working actress like Brewster doesn’t have time to take part in all the projects she once did, but with two episodes left in this season I hold out hope that we’ll get a brief glimpse of Dodo before things wrap up. If only for more gems like the one she asked Beatrice and Frederick (Jason Ritter) during the first season: “Why are you two lawnboating? Afternoons are for defecating and learning Latin.” Ahh, life in the early 20th century.
Amanda Wicks is a freelance journalist specializing in comedy and music. Follow her on Twitter @aawicks.