Good news, comedy fans! There's a new sitcom about motherhood coming your way, and it's produced by Amy Poehler. On May 8th, NBC ordered I Feel Bad to series, and the show about the many pressures that women face now has a trailer, too. And it's a promising one, for sure.
Created by writer Aseem Batra, I Feel Bad focuses on a woman named Emet who is trying to figure out life. On Sunday, May 13, the network shared the trailer, and it looks like the show will skewer the "having it all" narrative. In the preview, the series takes on the challenges contemporary women face when trying to balance a career with being a romantic partner, mother, and trying to feel good about yourself in a society with impossible standards for beauty. "As women, we feel bad about things every day," Emet says in the trailer. "I never know what I'll feel bad about, but I know it's just around the corner."
I Feel Bad stars Sarayu Blue as Emet, and it seems that the character will struggle to manage the many responsibilities and expectations in her life. Blue, who fans might recognize from her hilarious role as Marcie in Blockers or as Angela from the FOX sitcom Sons of Tucson, seems perfect to play show's guilt-ridden protagonist. In the trailer, Emet feels bad about having a dream about a man that isn't her husband. Then, her mother makes her feel guilty for dropping the kids off to be babysat while she goes to work, and she feels worse that she can't afford a nanny instead. Later, she worries about turning into her mother and stresses that the coworkers at her cool job think she's old. The many different worries in the character's life offer a realistic portrait of what it truly feels like to "have it all" as a woman in 2018.
The show is based on the book I Feel Bad: All Day. Every Day. About Everything by Orli Auslander. The illustrated book gives examples of the many ways the author feels shame, guilt, or regret as a side-effect of being a contemporary woman with kids, a career, and a full personal life. In addition to Blue, the show also stars Paul Adelstein, Aisling Bea, Zach Cherry, Johnny Pemberton, and James Buckley. The pilot was written by Batra, who fans might know from her work on Scrubs and The Cleveland Show. Poehler is set to executive produce, and the show found a home on the same channel as Parks & Recreation, the hit sitcom on which she used to star.
Poehler has spoken out about the pressures women face before. In 2014, an interviewer at Sundance complained to Poehler about the standards for modern men. "Being cool is, like, passé. And now you have to be awkward and adorkable," the interviewer argued, and Poehler had the perfect response. "Well, this feeling that you're having right now, which is like, 'I'm supposed to be all things'," she said. "Is a feeling that women have every day and have their whole lives. So you're just starting to experience it now."
The actor and producer knows something about a life of multitasking. Poehler founded her own production company, Paper Kite Productions, in 2002, and she's become a major force in the television industry. She's been a longtime advocate for putting women's stories on screen, and her production credits include the hit Broad City. According to The Hollywood Reporter, I Feel Bad was her first pilot pickup at a major network this season. She also has an unnamed project with Natasha Lyonne in the works, and she's set to host the reality competition series Making It with former Parks & Rec co-star Nick Offerman in July.
It's rare for television shows to properly represent the reality of motherhood, and I Feel Bad seems ready to end the aspirational myth of having it all. Sure, Emet has children, a career, friends, and a love life, but it's not without things getting a little messy. And if done correctly, seeing the messy bits could end up be incredibly relatable to modern women.