Monday, September 24, 2018

Pilot Review: I Feel Bad

I Feel Bad (NBC)
Premiered September 19 at 10pm

With tons of sitcoms premiering each season, it seems that there are three primary goals these days: featuring a diverse cast, combatting stereotypes with more authentic, genuine characters, and being original and funny. Ultimately, aside from the truly creative shows that have a unique hook, most comedies are a variety of the same formula. This show, which is premiering ahead of most fall shows before taking a week off, spotlights a modern-day woman from an Indian family, and it’s not as if the behavior showcased is particularly authentic to or derogatory about her culture. On the front of how women are portrayed, this show fails miserably, with a surprisingly successful female at the head of an all-male team and subjected to daily moronic behavior from her underlings that she feeds into by treating them as if they’re co-parents with her. All her work scenes felt like they were out of a show made two decades ago, far less creative or current than they really should be given the wealth of similar series – both good and bad – that have premiered in that time and evolved over the years. Regarding being funny, this show tries but mostly misses, stumbling most in its generic plotting, with Emet trying to stop her daughter from staying on the dance team, something that’s absurd given the clearly inappropriate nature of the dancing endorsed by the school, and asking her coworkers if she’s still doable, a question that’s never going to lead anywhere good. Opening with her father give her a slap thinking she was her mother and then ending with her husband making the same mistake with her mother indicates the brand of humor that this show is going for, and its lackluster title is indicative of its generally lackluster material.

How will it work as a series? As a character, Emet is far from sympathetic, and the way that this show casts her in an unfortunate work situation does her no favors at all. This show’s title also references the opening moment of each episode, which, while helpful for naming each of its installments, isn’t nearly as productive for framing each plotline.
How long will it last? Reviews aren’t all bad, and starting this show off early may help it despite a ratings performance that wasn’t a slam dunk. Airing it after “Will and Grace” might also benefit it, though I’m still betting that it’s not going to get renewed for a second season even if it manages to air out its initial order of episodes.

Pilot grade: C

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