At this point I Feel Bad is a joke. Not the funny kind that brings joy to viewers. The kind that leaves me shaking my head in frustration over what could have been.
I Feel Bad 1×06 “I’m A Massive Hypocrite” covers well-trodden comedic territory with a stale perspective that distances viewers from any possible connection with the characters.
It can’t decide it’s tone (HINT- a pooping-out a healing crystal plotline does NOT set the right tone) and the fork in it is the continued mistaken attention on the office nerd bros in lieu of Emet’s family.
Before we dig into the disappointing, let’s give credit where credit is due and praise Lily, David and the Kamala Marriage for making the episode watchable (barely).
Lily Rose Silver plays Lily and gives the best acting performance on the show. Her facial expressions with her brother and her eye-contact “discussion” with her mom are actually funny.
Her physicality is also on point, perfectly capturing the combination of preteen confidence and awkwardness.
David is also pretty funny, even though the story he’s given is predictable and stiff. The way David is there for Emet and manages to be an ally throughout the episodes is comforting.
No, it is not entertaining. But, it doesn’t grate on the viewers like the other characters and storylines.
The final not-so-bad part of “I’m A Massive Hypocrite” is the marriage between Maya and Sonny. Sonny knows his wife well and he works with her to make her happy, even when he might not be sincere. For example, toilet cake.
Sonny is able to playfully share that Maya got played by their daughter. It is clear that these two are a team and Emet has learned a great deal from them about how to make marriage a team sport.
Emet’s Non-Existent Emotional Intelligence
The episode, and the entire series so far, suffers from Emet’s total lack of emotional intelligence. She sees her (badass and awesome) daughter be rude to her little brother.
This is completely normal and developmentally appropriate, by the way. But, for Emet, this is the reason to insist that Lily be nice to her brother.
Okay, sure. Kindness is absolutely important. But, Emet doesn’t get what kindness and relationship are. She basically forces Lily to do whatever her brother Louie wants and then to pretend to be happy about it.
FAKING IT IS NOT KIND.
PRETENDING TO CARE ABOUT SOMEONE IS MORE HARMFUL THAN BEING A BIT TOO BLUNT.
We need to stop telling our kids that is what being nice is! Lily needs to set a boundary with her brother. She should be kind as she does this, but that does not mean pretending.
Emet’s approach to her cousin also shows her low emotional intelligence IQ. She has little to no empathy for a person who is obviously struggling to find meaning and success in her life.
This is another area of failure for I Feel Bad. It gives us these annoying characters with a long list of terrible traits. Then, it forgets to do the thing where they are actually redeemable, quirky and worthy characters.
The annoying characters on I Feel Bad, like the cousin, just stay crappy.
Emet takes her emotional ignorance to work too, where she makes a face, but then continues to take advice, cues, and leadership from her all-male, harassive, sexist team.
I don’t feel bad about mistrusting Emet at this point.
I Feel Bad-ish
I Feel Bad borrows significantly from Blackish in its story structure. “I’m A Massive Hypocrite” crosses the line by just copying storylines and sucking all of the interest out of them before pasting them onto the episode.
Annoying little brother the older sister has to deal with? Check, already on Blackish.
Weird cousin/sister comes into town and gets all of the mother’s praise and attention? Check, already on Blackish.
Main character unaware of her/his own narcissism and role in mimicking the systems of oppression that impact her/him? CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, already on Blackish.
It is already six episodes in, so it feels ready to call a time of death.
But, I will keep on watching and reviewing, hopeful that I Feel Bad can turn this ship around, away from the nerd bros and towards the one (1) big sister I stan.
What did you think about I Feel Bad 1×06 “I’m A Massive Hypocrite”? Is it as bad as I think it is? Join the conversation in the comments!
I Feel Bad airs Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c on NBC.