Lady Dynamite: "We couldn't afford the melody, and you know it!"
May 24, 2016 1:54 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Stand-up comedian/actress Maria Bamford (portrayed by herself) moves back to Los Angeles after spending six months away in recovery for bipolar disorder and attempts to build up her life from scratch with the help of her agent Bruce Ben-Bacharach (Fred Melamed). Throughout the entire first season, flashbacks are employed to gain an insight on Maria's backstory and her relationships with her family and friends.

Definitely one of the most innovative sitcoms to come from Netflix, from Arrested Development's Mitch Hurwitz and South Park's Pam Brady, Lady Dynamite breaks every fourth wall it can find, seeks to destigmatize mental illness, and features about every nerds' favorite comics (with cameos like Patton Oswalt, John Mulaney, Sarah Silverman, Tig Notaro, and many more). It also features a good amount of trust in the audience, from jumping between three periods in Bamford's life, talking dogs, and way more meta commentary than you thought possible, even if you were big into Community and Arrested Development.

From the first episode: “It’s been done so many times before,” says Oswalt. “Give your audience some credit. They can deal with busting narrative innovations. We’ve all seen Breaking Bad.”

Sepinwall: Maria Bamford gets weird, self-aware, and very funny in Netflix's 'Lady Dynamite'

Vox: Netflix’s Lady Dynamite is both the most alienating and the most immersive comedy of the year

AV Club: Netflix’s wonderfully weird Lady Dynamite reinvents the stand-up sitcom

Splitsider: ‘Lady Dynamite,’ Maria Bamford Breaks All the Walls

Uproxx: ‘Lady Dynamite’ Is The Strangest New Comedy This Season, And That’s A Good Thing
posted by General Malaise (21 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I enjoyed this, but having already seen The Maria Bamford Show kind of tainted the experience. That covered a lot of the same territory, with the bonus of Bamford playing all the roles herself.

But this is cool too.

Also, I consciously noted that Fred Melamed and Bob Balaban are two totally different dudes. I'm not sure if I'd ever actually conflated them, but it definitely seems like something I'd do.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:06 PM on May 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

We ended up throwing restraint to the wind and binge-ing the rest of it last night. Loved it deeply, but we're a household of a) Person with BP-II semi-recently out of psych hospitalization, and his partner and b) two people who really love sitcoms that play with weird meta-humor (e.g., Holliston). SO this sort of felt targeted right at our brains and I have no idea how it plays for anyone else?

Anyway. Wonderful.
posted by Stacey at 8:04 AM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

So many jokes to miss at so many levels. E.g. even though it was practically spelled out in the credits I didn't twig to the fact that Ana Gasteyer's and June Diane Raphael's characters were both named Karen Grisham.
posted by whuppy at 8:07 AM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I was watching intently looking for details because this is definitely the type of show that hides jokes, and I totally missed the Karen Grishams. That was awesome.
posted by General Malaise at 10:43 AM on May 25, 2016

According to Wikipedia, there are at least three Karen Grishams.
posted by Grangousier at 11:41 AM on May 25, 2016

Yeah, the three Karen Grishams combined their powers (?) at the end.
posted by General Malaise at 11:53 AM on May 25, 2016

I haven't got that far. I look forward to it.
posted by Grangousier at 11:59 AM on May 25, 2016

Yeah Stacey, I think it plays differently depending on background. It's also a very specific and weird type of humor that many people aren't used to. My wife didn't like it at all because it's too close to people she's close to and it's all over the place. I loved it because it is close to me and I'm all over the place.

I follow the standup and general comedy scenes pretty closely and woah the number of people on this cast I recognized was crazy. I'm wondering how many people just pass by in the background I should be recognizing. I noticed a few for sure. I don't think Jackie Kashian had any lines for example. She was just kind of there from what I remember. It's not surprising to see her since she opens a bunch for Maria Bamford and they started in Minneapolis at the same time. I'm sure others on the show were also a simple call saying "Hey this is Maria Bamford. Wanna be in..." interrupted by "YES"

I need to watch it again a few more times to try to catch more references but I don't think I'll ever catch them all.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 12:00 PM on May 25, 2016

Loved it. Cringed a few times. The cameos are excellent and numerous, as mentioned.
posted by Glinn at 6:05 PM on May 25, 2016

And the third Karen Grisham is . . . Jenny Slate!! (Can't wait for the payoff of an Ana / June / Jenny combo.)
posted by whuppy at 6:00 AM on May 26, 2016

I love thinking about how much people at Target Corporate HQ must haaaaaate this show.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 7:17 AM on May 26, 2016 [4 favorites]

Watched the last two episodes last night. Boy, that got kind of dark. And weird. And wonderful.

We are lucky people. We are living in a time when TV shows that could never have been made before are actually being made and we can watch them in our living rooms or on a plane or on a train or on a boat or with a goat. We are seeing shows made not for the masses but for us. Just us, the people who like this sort of thing. There are also TV shows being made for them, the people who like that other sort of thing.

I am so happy to see Ana Gasteyer again. I really haven't seen her in anything since SNL and she's always been one of my favorite people. Add Jenny Slate making an appearance or two, a bunch of cameos from comedians I know, a few people where I go "hey, it's that woman/guy from that other thing!" and a couple people I've never heard of before but became instant fans of. This is great. Oh yeah, and Maria Bamford being brilliant, making me laugh with nothing but a look on her face. And pugs. And guinea pigs.

This show tickles my funny bone in a way few shows have before. It's up there with Arrested Development and Party Down for shows I probably will never shut up about.

"That'll do, pug. That'll do."
posted by bondcliff at 7:52 AM on May 26, 2016 [6 favorites]

God I love this show.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:28 AM on May 28, 2016

Not just one Superman, but TWO Supermans! Supermen? Supermens.
posted by aabbbiee at 12:02 PM on May 31, 2016

I don't get it.
posted by radioamy at 8:23 PM on June 10, 2016

Re: Superman, Maria had boyfriends on the show played by Brandon Routh (Superman in Superman Returns) and Dean Cain (Superman in Lois & Clark). I kept waiting for a third Superman to finish the joke, but AFAIK that was all the Supermens that appeared.
posted by aabbbiee at 7:43 AM on June 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

I can't tell for the life of me if all the signs on everything indicating what the location is ("bruce ben-bacharach's office") are supposed to be diegetic or not and i love that
posted by griphus at 7:26 AM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

Super low-key gag I just caught on something like the fifteenth viewing of this: Jack, the boyfriend who doesn't get comedy, says that The Big Bang Theory is one of his five favourite things.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:44 PM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Season 2 is out!
posted by Pronoiac at 8:53 PM on November 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Season 2 is out and there's been some spectacular stuff! (Only on ep 5.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:12 PM on November 12, 2017

I attempted to watch this last night (since we don’t have Netflix at home). I love Maria Bamford because she writes about mental illness in a true way, but this was A LOT. I couldn’t get into the constant fourth-wall breaking, and the extended joke about the Japanese noodle commercial made me really uncomfortable.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:53 PM on April 20, 2018

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