• Entertainment

Three Busy Debras Brings a Wonderfully Demented Dose of Estrogen to Dude-Dominated Adult Swim

3 minute read

Three Busy Debras is a weird show. Set in the fictional town of Lemoncurd—one of those posh Connecticut suburbs where it still looks like the ’50s and every stately home sits atop acres of manicured, meticulously hydrated lawn—it follows a trio of housewives who are, yes, all named Debra. You can tell by her string of pearls that Sandy Honig’s (Isn’t It Romantic) Debra is the alpha; Alyssa Stonoha’s Debra is her deadpan deputy. That makes Mitra Jouhari’s character the odd Debra out, scorned and scapegoated by her friends. In the premiere, Stonoha and Jouhari squash Honig’s pool boy between their cars. Charged with disposing of his body, Jouhari buys a purse big enough to stand up inside and pays for it with a fist-size emerald straight out of a video game. “Exact change—nice touch,” chirps the clerk.

Desperate Housewives, The Stepford Wives, Douglas Sirk melodramas and just about every other pop-cultural depiction of the stultifying lives of women in suburbia are in the DNA of this strange and wonderful short-form series, which premieres March 29 on Adult Swim. But Debras, created by its stars with the backing of Amy Poehler’s Paper Kite Productions, does more than remix homemaker tropes à la Weeds. Based on the avant-garde comedy Honig, Jouhari and Stonoha have been performing for years, the show is delightfully absurdist. The Debras wear stark white and deliver ridiculous lines (“A Debra must be ready to conceive at all times”) with mannered deliberateness. Sitcom clichés get stretched to extremes; Stonoha shoves a cop into a closet, exits wearing his uniform . . . and then he struts out in her character’s pantsuit. Ingenious sight gags abound, from a woman pruning a hedge with shaving cream and a razor to a board game called Security Questions.

It’s particularly encouraging to see the Debras on Adult Swim. Beloved for stoner-friendly fare such as Rick and Morty, The Eric Andre Show and Robot Chicken, the brand has been criticized for its lack of female creators. As it continues to champion oddballs like Tim & Eric, whose new series Beef House premieres back-to-back with Debras, experimental comedy from women languishes on mainstream platforms. (See: Maria Bamford’s brilliant, canceled Netflix show Lady Dynamite.) Here’s hoping the Debras are just the first of many new female guests invited to Adult Swim’s pool party.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com