Finally, I Feel Bad gives us a good episode! The freshman show reverts back to what worked in the pilot episode and even extends it a bit through the smart use of Lily and David as key characters.
I Feel Bad 1×08 “I Miss Important Moments,” resuscitates a show I was ready to give a time of death. Hallelujiah!
The episode works because it taps into an authentic struggle that women face to be everything to everyone, all the time. The central focus “I Miss Important Moments,” shifts from how Emet is an image-obsessed liar, to how she can get the credit she deserves at work and at home.
It is a necessary shift for the series to survive. The nerdbros are finally ancillary to the central character and conflict, rather than driving them.
As it turns out, Emet actually does do work at her job!
You wouldn’t know it based on all but the pilot episode. It has been an exasperating experience watching episode after episode where Emet spends hours and hours at work but we never actually see her working. My eyes are sore from all the rolling.
It is refreshing and believable that Emet has created this ninja geisha character and that she has many more ideas of women with traditionally feminine roles becoming extreme warriors.
She is right to be proud of that work; I’d play the heck out of those games!
Emet’s desperation to be included in the big moments of her life is a struggle most moms who work outside the home know intimately.
At the beginning of the episode, we see Emet doing everything and failing at everything. She misses her youngest child’s first steps, making her 0 for 3 in first step parenting.
She is too late for the big boss’s nickname-giving hang out, and she can’t manage actually going to all the dance rehearsals so she sends an undercover.
None of it is working.
Then, even when Emet pulls-off the impossible, getting a nickname of her own (LOVE Whiskey Momma as a nickname AND that we infer Emet has carefully researched her boss-I stan a prepared creative), sewing some badass phoenix wings for Lily, making a successful pitch to her boss, and showing up for her daughter’s solo dance performance, we don’t feel that she’s succeeded.
That’s important right there.
Emet collapses into David’s arms and it isn’t a little collapse. She has lost all control and needs to be fully supported by him.
I rather love this imagery.
Sure, Emet finagled a win in the multiple areas of her life. But, she can’t sustain that level of performance even for a week.
And, I guarantee that even with all those wins she disappointed someone. Her son perhaps, her parents, her friends (does she have any friends?). She literally can not do it all. No one can.
This is the heart of I Feel Bad. Moms who work in male-dominated fields are set up to fail. The expectations on them are tripled and it is an endless barrage of failures.
Yet, what we see on Instagram (and this is the point I think the show wants to make but has failed at every attempt so far), is that some moms really can do it all, with panache and without complaining.
If InstaMommy42 can do it, what’s your excuse? But InstaMommy42 is a lie. She is filtered, cropped, and the result of many takes.
With the unrealistic social media standards presented to her, it is no wonder that Emet is flailing about in an attempt to do the impossible and feeling guilty when she constantly falls short.
Emet 11 Red Bulls deep is all of us and I appreciate being seen.
The characters on the episode that help illustrate Emet’s struggle, Lily and David, are the perfect choice.
Lily is my favorite character on the whole show. Lily Rose Silver’s acting is always top notch. She captures the fresh strangeness of preteen confidence while providing sharply executed facial expressions to maximize the humor.
She is the break-out star of this series.
I love that she doesn’t cry at a touching moment with her mom because of her on point lashes. I also love that Lily likes her mom. We have never seen her blame or deride her mom, even when she’s behaving badly.
That’s a mother-daughter relationship I’ve never really seen on screen and it is a testament to Silver’s choices in her performance.
Likewise, Paul Adelstein plays David with a sincerity and softness that makes his implausible affection for Emet make sense. Emet has been a vapid, annoying, lying, and basic person for much of the series.
Yet, when she shares scenes with David, we get the sense that she is also so very fun. They understand each other’s isms and they make each other laugh. I hate that it came by way of fat-shaming, but we have learned over the season that David is able to turn Emet’s poor behavior into a sweet and sexy way to connect.
Also, David doesn’t always understand what Emet is going through, but he never shames her for her choices. Most of the time, he jumps in head first to join her. That’s darn romantic and a pleasure to see on the show.
Hopefully the change of course on “I Miss Important Moments,” has set I Feel Bad on a new path.
What did you think of I Feel Bad 1×08 “I Miss Important Moments”? Do agree that it has changed for the better? Join the conversation in the comments below.