There are few shows, or perhaps none, that dare to harvest comedy about addiction, paranoia, and mental health issues.
Somehow, Canadian comedian May Martin’s show Feel Good managed to get all this and more with its groundbreaking first season ending in tatters in the comedian’s life. Feeling good, as the name suggests, always chooses to hope beyond misery. It’s not always funny.
Every hit on the show is, to some degree, a sad reminder of human vulnerability.
But the show, written by Martin and co-writer Joe Hampson, is perfectly balanced between sharpness and balance madness.
In its second season, Feel Good May offers something to cheer about and a lot of other goodies. One could argue that this is a show for broken people, but it is written so cheerfully, and with such directness, it can also be seen as an exercise for fixation.
Season 1 ends with Martin ending in a downward spiral after breaking up with a confused yet gentle George (Charlotte Richie) before going on a one-off drug trip to get him back into rehab.
Usually, a series here would come with a few regrets, but in Feel Good May met some old friends, including the one who peed on everyone’s rice.
This often-embarrassing balance between sad reality and happy excesses highlights the series as the two-veined thrust of life-affirming misery and unreality of how cute things are.
“Why do some people need so much help just to exist,” May asked at one point. You’d think it’s a question that comes out of the quivering lips of a withdrawn person, but in Feel Good, it’s like a jolly bicep punch offered with empathy than any other writer might see.
Martin’s specific part of his “real life,” which went viral last season. It has now brought him fame, and with it, famous culture predators like the narcissistic agent Donna.
“You came from outer space,” Donna Martin said when they first met. Pointing out how easily her fragility can be sold and sold in today’s day and age. Trauma can also be a show, as Martin finds humorously.
After Martin leaves for Canada, George begins to reorganize the mysterious parts of his life.
Elliott meets a gentle and caring man whose weaknesses start to irritate him while attractive at first. In one scene, after offering s*xual adventures, Elliott gives George a book. “Feminist Essays on S*xuality,” to help him master his “emotional education”.
What feels good is incredibly good, how empathy draws each character closer to the viewer. Since the show itself deals with fluctuations in s*xuality.
Martin and George still don’t know what to identify with. There is enough room for everyone to be everything. These are the right people on the show who occasionally run into creepy people.
This reflects the sensitivity they use to approach the show’s s*xual complexities that don’t leave anyone feeling threatened or handled.
Every absurdity, every oddity is treated with love and empathy, which is probably why this series is so dark, but at the same time so hilarious. George’s roommate, the lonely and quirky Phil, for example, gets even more immersive this season, and it’s a whole rainbow that turns him from a tricky crawl to a hilarious mishap.
Herein lies the impossible task that Feel Good continues to accomplish in its second season.
One of the characters could be a nightmare dealing with a broken social crowd introduced. By an inconsistent and frustrating mind. Still, you can’t help but see him repeatedly or make friends. With his incredible sense of humor and courage in everything.
It’s a show about dealing with and dealing with trauma, yet it manages to entertain even the most cynical minds. In season two, we learn more about Martin’s past. And we get to see George’s confusing lack of cohesion in the things he wanted and what he ended up doing. In a way, it’s still one of the funniest love stories on TV between the two.
It would be wrong to say that Feel Good can feel like therapy. His openness can sometimes seem too harsh, even brutal. For someone who has experienced trauma related to drug use, relationships, or an open outlook on life.
Cumulatively, through the series, he extracts the impossible by humanizing his vulnerable objects. So that we can laugh at them and lay the roots for what they believe in.
Because it’s written on a spectrum of s*xuality and desire, Feel Good doesn’t categorize how things are. Instead, he enjoys the chaos of trying to paint what cannot be defined, drawn, or defeated.