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May 31, 2016

TV Review: Lady Dynamite (Netflix, 2016)

Many of us know Maria Bamford for her stand-up comedy. Others may know her from her short stint in the first Netflix season of Arrested Development. What many don't know, unless you've heard her in some recent podcast interviews, is that she has spent most of her life dealing with mental health issues. While many thought Lady Dynamite was an Arrested Development spinoff, likely due to the Mitchell Hurwitz connection, it serves as a touching and hilarious autobiography.

Maria plays herself in different time periods throughout her own life. We see the past, present and scenes from time spent getting care in Duluth. She is surrounded by odd family members and friends played by Mo Collins, Ana Gasteyer, Ed Begley, Jr., Bridget Everett, Dean Cain and more. One of the more interesting storytelling methods is having Comedians of Comedy partners Brian Posehn and Patton Oswalt break character to make sure Bamford doesn't replicate other shows led by comedians.

If you pay attention, you'll see that there is some darkness to the stories being told. Bamford hasn't had the easiest road. Mental health is something to be taken seriously, and though the show is genuinely funny, it never does a disservice to the issues that Bamford and others deal with on a daily basis. I can appreciate what she's doing in highlighting her struggles and finding a lighter way of handling them.

Some of the interesting topics she deals with are loneliness, relationships, codependency, being a people pleaser, knowing your own limits, her doubt about being a Target spokesperson and figuring out how to be happy. The writing is great, and the dialogue is so quotable. The Brandon Routh episode had me rolling. This is another great offering from Netflix. I'm excited for more Lady Dynamite. I think Maria Bamford will finally be a household name after this, and if you don't fall in love with Fred Melamed after one episode... you know what? That's impossible.

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