At Home with Amy Sedaris (truTV)
Cast: Amy Sedaris (Strangers with Candy) is the only series regular, with Heather Lawless (The Heart, She Holler), Ana Fabrega (Boy Band), Cole Escola (Difficult People), David Pasquesi (Veep), and Paul Dinello (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) recurring
Creator(s): Sedaris and Dinello
Number of Episodes: 10
Similar Shows: As far as current shows, the closest analog to At Home with Amy Sedaris might be The Eric Andre Show, which similarly takes a structured, old school TV format and gussies it up with unpredictable absurdity. Personally, I’ve always considered At Home with Amy Sedaris more like the 2010’s answer to Pee Wee’s Playhouse or what would happen if Martha Stewart Living were ran by Adult Swim’s Tim & Eric.
Why You Should Binge: One of the greatest joys of the fall 2017 season was truTV’s At Home with Amy Sedaris, a fever dream of a television show that only fell further down the absurdist rabbit hole throughout its 10-episode first season. Starring Sedaris as an exaggerated version of herself who hosts a lifestyle-themed variety show, At Home is both loving satire to a format best-selling hospitality writer Sedaris looked up to as a child and its very own, very distinct thing. Though each episode is structured around a particular theme, be it the finer points of gift giving or how to work through your grief, things quickly spiral out of control thanks to an impressively deep guest cast (Jane Krakowski, Christopher Meloni, Stephen Colbert, Michael Shannon, Justin Theroux, Paul Giamatti, etc.), a delightfully loopy comedic sensibility, and a narrative boldness that’s made that much more apparent by the sturdiness of the show’s format.
The centralized themes keep At Home with Amy Sedaris coherent while giving the show the freedom to shoot its surrealistic wad every time out, only to (essentially) start over again. The show knows that it can go bigger and weirder because its topics are provide a lot of latitude and not much carries over from episode to episode. The serialization here is light minus some recurring characters (most importantly The Lady Who Lives in the Woods, a sapphic Earth mother whose passive aggressive relationship with her life partner is touched on a few times), which is appreciated given the show’s contentment in expanding its universe during its first 10 episodes. The first season of At Home with Amy Sedaris quickly and efficiently carves out a world unlike any on television, as Sedaris’s hostess with the mostest becomes a magnet for ghosts, cursed dolls with a vendetta, (possibly/probably) murderous drifters, and snakes who love crafts, in addition to visits from gay astronauts, morgue cosmetologists, and naughty sponsors.
But all this controlled chaos, that which could’ve never existed were it not for Peak TV, wouldn’t have worked without Sedaris herself. As gleefully unhinged and game for anything as ever, Sedaris is often playing against herself in the same scene, be it as red-nosed regional wine lady Ronnie Vino, Southern heiress (and neighborhood busybody) Patty Hogg, or a hobo with a foot fetish who lives within walking distance from the At Home set. The show made an interesting decision in having Sedaris’s main character be the least absurd character, but Sedaris is an effective straight woman when required, adept and comfortable when the show lets itself give useful tips, and relishes every chance “Amy” gets to indulge in the madness that permeates her poor hit show.
At Home with Amy Sedaris is the type of experimentation that television needs more of. In an industry flailing for the nearest piece of intellectual property to repackage, an industry with more options than ever but less live audience to go around and support off-the-wall ideas, now’s the time for audiences to put their foot down and show that original content can (and should) survive. This show, so full of creative enthusiasm and an infectious sense of adventure, is worth a binge not only for the chance to be consumed by its off-kilter energy, but for the chance to send a positive message about the brand value of quality content and how organic word-of-mouth for a nichier project can make for a more engaged, passionate audience.
How You Can Binge: For the remainder of the month of March, the entire series is available through the truTV app and On Demand. At Home with Amy Sedaris is already up on iTunes, Vudu, Youtube, Amazon, and Google Play.