I Feel Bad
“Pilot” (Episode 101)
September 19, 2018
I Feel Bad is a new sitcom based on the book of the same name, by Orli Auslander. Amy Poehler is one of the executive producers and it was developed for television by Aseem Batra. NBC aired the first two episodes last Wednesday, but its future time slot will be on Thursday nights (beginning October 4), after Will and Grace. The series stars Sarayu Blue as Emet, a working mother trying to balance the different aspects of her life, and Paul Adelstein, as David, Emet’s helpful and supportive husband.
Now, onto the episode….SPOILERS AHEAD!
Each episode features a “Feel Bad” moment. While this episode is titled “Pilot”, the feel bad moment is “I Don’t Want to Turn into My Mother.” The episode starts off with Emet having a suggestive dream. Her husband asks if she had “that” dream again and she replies that she is totally cool with him having dreams like that too. She goes downstairs to a chaotic morning of getting ready for work and getting the kids ready for school. Emet’s parents Maya (Madhur Jaffrey) and Sonny (Brian George) are at the house ready to watch the youngest of Emet and David’s three children. Their daughter Lily (Lily Rose Silver) announces she signed up for the dance team before she heads off to school. As Emet is looking into the refrigerator, Sonny, HER FATHER, smacks her butt, mistaking his daughter’s rear end for that of her mother. AWKWARD. In his defense, Sonny declares that Emet has features like her mother. That’s no defense, sir.
Emet asks David if he finds her mother attractive.
“Why do I feel like this is a trap?”
When he doesn’t reply, she says she needs a more objective opinion and heads off to work. Emet is the head artist at a video game company. She asks her co-workers if she is still “doable.” Norman (Zach Cherry), Hux (Christopher Avila), Chewey (James Buckley), and Grif (Johnny Pemberton) compare her to pizza and suggest she is stale rather than hot and fresh. They continue to crush her spirit when they tell her she nags sometimes and that she’s critical.
She decides that she will be supportive of her daughter in her dance class. When Lily shows her parents her new dance routine, it seems a bit provocative for her age. Maya wants to send her to camp and David agrees. Emet (even though she doesn’t approve of it) says she was amazing and appreciates her self-expression. She doesn’t want to shame her over something she loves and is excited for.
“That is what my mom did to me and it made me resent her.”
When Emet is back at work, she tells her co-workers that she needs to sabotage her daughter so she won’t continue with dance. They offer suggestions and decide on mental manipulation. She needs to plant something in Lily’s head and then she will act on it.
Emet goes to Lily’s dance practice to make a big scene. Maya also goes to the dance practice to make a scene. When Emet asks what she is doing there, Maya replies that is how she used to get Emet to quit things. Emet had the same plan as her mom, and Lily still didn’t quit the team.
Back at work, Emet tells her team that the “inception” plan didn’t work. They try another plan to call the school and complain that dance is sexist and they should shut it down. That plan backfires too, when the school decides to add boys to the dance team.
Emet and David are watching the new routine. Emet texts her coworkers that the plan backfired and they are surprised to see the routine. She still wants to be the “cool” mom and not like her own mom was with her, but she has to put a stop to the routine when the kids were motor-boating. She discusses with Lily that it’s okay for self-expression and suggests she keeps dancing, but just not on that team.
“Parenting is so emotionally draining.”
Emet comes to terms with being like her mom, but is trying to be a better version of her. When she goes back to work, her team came up with a heroic design for the new game. The character resembles a great role model rather than just having “bowling ball boobs.”
When Emet returns home after work, her father says that he has cataracts. Emet feels much better that he confused her for her mother now that she knows he can’t see that well.
Sarayu Blue’s portrayal of a mother trying to juggle a work life and an at-home life was spot on, complete with over-bearing parents that drop in all the time. She shined in her role as Emet and it seemed as though her lines came to her effortlessly. Even when she escapes her home life for work life, she still is somewhat of a “mother” to her coworkers. This comedy succeeded in presenting the laugh-out-loud chuckles and relatable moments. I think this will be a great fit for NBC after Will and Grace.