Tuesday, September 18, 2018

NBC Fall Pilot Review: I Feel Bad - Premieres Wednesday (Sept. 19); 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Award Winners

The Mayor

I Feel Bad - Thursdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Special Preview Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 10:00PM & 10:30PM ET/PT
Timeslot Premiere Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Emet is the perfect mom, boss, wife, friend and daughter. OK, she's not perfect. In fact, she's just figuring it out like the rest of us. Sure, she feels bad when she has a sexy dream about someone other than her husband, or when she pretends not to know her kids when they misbehave in public, or when she uses her staff to help solve personal problems. But that's OK, right? Nobody can have it all and do it perfectly. From executive producer Amy Poehler comes a modern comedy about being perfectly OK with being imperfect.

Cast Details:

Sarayu Blue as Emet
Paul Adelstein as David
Zach Cherry as Norman
James Buckley as Chewy
Johnny Pemberton as Cliff

Sarayu Blue (Emet) is an actress best known for her recurring role as Angela on the Fox sitcom Sons of Tucson, as well as Dr. Sydney Napur on David E. Kelley's Monday Mornings on TNT. She has also guest starred in a number of notable television series, such as Agents of SHIELD, Two and a Half Men and Grey's Anatomy.

Paul Adelstein (David) is an actor known for the role of Agent Paul Kellerman on Prison Break and his role as pediatrician Cooper Freedman on the medical drama Private Practice. He is also known for his recurring role as Leo Bergen on ABC's Scandal and as Jake Novak in the Bravo television series Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce.

Zach Cherry (Norman) is a comedic actor who has appeared in various comedic shorts and guest roles on shows such as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Search Party and Crashing. I Feel Bad will be his first starring role.

James Buckley (Chewy) is an English stand-up comedian, actor, musician, and YouTuber. He is best known for playing foul-mouthed Jay Cartwright in the UK sitcom The Inbetweeners.

Johnny Pemberton (Cliff) is an American actor known for his role on Fox's Son of Zorn and his recurring role on NBC's Superstore.

Pilot Plot:

"I Don't Want to Turn Into My Mother" (Airs Wednesday, Sep. 19 at 10:00PM ET)

Emet is concerned that her daughter's new dance club's routine may be a bit too risque, but fears that discouraging her from joining the dance team will turn her into her mother. With the help of her co-workers at her job designing video games, Emet tries to come up with a way to get her daughter to quit the dance team - without shattering her dreams.

Analysis:

I Feel Bad feels a bit like a mediocre network sitcom being lifted incredibly by its lead talent. The show's premise itself is not particularly unique and feels similar to the trend of family sitcoms within the past few years ("mother balances her quirky family and dream job"), and the show's joke writing is pretty weak, even for a sitcom in its early stages (to be fair, the "funny" part of a sitcom rarely clicks into place until about five or six episodes in, when the cast has developed some chemistry and the writers have figured out the characters' comic personas.) However, there is something compulsively watchable about the show, even if it, on paper, it seems fairly mediocre - and that "something" is its excellent lead actress, Sarayu Blue. Blue does an absolutely incredible job here, completing elevating the series from "generic network sitcom" to something that seems like it could be more. The show is clearly meant to be a starring vehicle for Blue, and she absolutely steps up to the plate. Blue is one of those actors brimming with potential who has mostly popped up on the sidelines through-out her career, and she takes her first opportunity as a show's star and knocks it out of the park.

Unfortunately, the rest of the show is not operating on the same level, at least not yet. The weakest part of the series is easily the show's workplace scenes, which are somehow both incredibly generic and incredibly annoying. Blue's video game designing workplace feels like a caricature of a "millennial" office, and her millennial male co-workers similarly seem like unlikable caricatures of "nerdy" men, who are extremely unpleasant to watch, even though the show seems to think their antics are funny and cute. They're not, and I would be surprised if the workplace scenes weren't either eliminated completely or extensively retooled by the halfway point of the show's 13-episode order. They just don't work, and it's hard to see a version of them that does. The other half of the show's scenes - focusing on Emet's family life - are also not particularly impressive, but more in just a "generic, early episodes of a sitcom" way than a truly troubling way. The archetypes here - ditzy father, mean grandmother, busy mother trying to keep it all together - are pretty rote, but the characters themselves are at least somewhat likable and endearing, and if the show can figure out more creative personalities for them (again, I've only seen the first three episodes, and it's rare that a sitcom has its characters completely figured out by that point), it's not hard to see them becoming something worthwhile. As of now, though, the only reason to really stick around is Blue - but she might just be good enough to make it worthwhile.

Conclusion:

I Feel Bad is a pretty ho-hum sitcom elevated by its lead actress Sarayu Blue, with glimmers of potential that aren't being fulfilled yet. There are parts of the show that feel like they could eventually click and becoming something worthwhile, but there are also parts that just don't work, and need to be either removed or changed drastically to avoid sinking the show. It's not a waste of time, and Blue is fantastic, but this is more of a "wait and see if it'll get better" situation than anything worth putting stock in at the moment.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3.5/5
Funniness: 2/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 10:00PM & 10:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • I Feel Bad Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • Henry Winkler

    The 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards aired last night on NBC. Here are the winners!

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    Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
    Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
    WINNER: Henry Winkler, Barry (HBO)

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTRESS
    Zazie Beetz, Atlanta (FX)
    Betty Gilpin, GLOW (Netflix)
    Laurie Metcalf, Roseanne (ABC)
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    Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
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    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTOR
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    Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
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    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTRESS
    Lena Headey, Game of Thrones (HB)
    Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things (Netflix)
    Vanessa Kirby, The Crown (Netflix)
    Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
    Ann Dowd, The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
    Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
    Thandie Newton, Westworld (HBO)
    WINNER: Thandie Newton, Westworld (HBO)

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    OUTSTANDING LEAD LIMITED SERIES/MOVIE ACTOR
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    Jeff Daniels, The Looming Tower (Hulu)
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    WINNER: Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)

    OUTSTANDING LEAD LIMITED SERIES/MOVIE ACTRESS
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    Michelle Dockery, Godless (Netflix)
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    Jessica Biel, The Sinner (USA Network)
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    Fitt Wittrock, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
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    John Leguizamo, Waco (Paramount Network)
    WINNER: Jeff Daniels, Godless (HBO)

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING LIMITED SERIES/MOVIE ACTRESS
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    WINNER: Merritt Wever, Godless (Netflix)

    View the full list of winners.


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    Complete TV Listings


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    Thursday, May 23

    • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Chris on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC. He also talks about The Garfield Movie on NBC's Today some time between 7-9am.
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