I love that Maria Bamford's new Netflix series Lady Dynamite somehow deals honestly with mental illness in the context of a hilarious comedy. I love that Maria Bamford, a 45-year-old woman who's “clearly sun damaged” (her words), can become a star in this Golden Age of Television. I love that the show gives Ana Gasteyer the best showcase of her career since SNL. And I love that in this second clip from the forthcoming series, Bamford dumps a bottle of pills in the trash while sing-songing the line “I don't need drugs, cause I got pugs!” as two adorable, actual pugs look on in confusion.
While I don't advocate this cold-turkey approach to ditching your meds, the scene is funny and disturbing all at once, and that is the crux of Bamford's appeal as a performer: she is dancing on the edge, and daring us not to laugh at her ultra-precarious balancing act. For the record, I have seen two episodes of the series and loved it — though as our own Alan Sepinwall notes in his review, it's not for everybody: “…many people will not be the right audience for this strange, sad, resoundingly self-aware comedy. But for some audience members like the one you're reading right now, Lady Dynamite very much lives up to the second half of its name.” If “strange, sad, resoundingly self-aware comedy” sounds like your bag, you're in for a treat.
All 13 episodes of Lady Dynamite debut May 20 on Netflix.