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They believe that funny costumes are funny.
The stars frequently appear in silly outfits, and at times in outright drag. In the funeral episode, Gene and Billie both end up wearing men's tuxedos to the ceremony. Billie starts last week's episode dressed as John F. Kennedy, and she spends most of this week's story squeezed into a red party dress and heels she can't walk in, impersonating the lady of the house, while Gene is posing unconvincingly as her maid.
"We come from a sketch background, so costumes and wigs and other dumb stuff is very dear to our heart," says Newhouse.
The "Dong" t-shirt Gene wears in the pilot was actually something Bell first wore — while playing a grandmother! — in a Groundlings sketch, while the funeral tuxes were inspired in part by Newhouse's love of Splash, where Daryl Hannah goes shopping at Bloomingdale's while wearing one of Tom Hanks' suits.
"I'm slightly obsessed with the movie Splash," she explains. "I like the image of a lady in a tuxedo. (Gene)'s wearing this really inappropriate outfit, and I thought it would be really funny if, instead of her going to get an appropriate dress, she went and bought a tuxedo. And then once she had a tuxedo, everyone had to have a tuxedo(*) That how our minds work! It just seemed logical to us! From A to B to C."
(*) I wouldn't want to spoil the best joke of the episode (if not series so far), which is also tuxedo-related, but if you've already seen it, here's some backstory on the whole idea and the key role Bell played in making sure it got into the show.