We’re living in a pretty remarkable period of queer comedy, and Canadian comedian Mae Martin’s Feel Good is a glowing example.
Gone are the days when queer people have to infer, or hope, guess, or accept tragedy as the default: recent queer screen stories like Pose, Work in Progress, Booksmart, and Dating Amber, offer audiences a view of the world as it is, full of people of all genders and sexuality, whose triumphs, gaffes and heartbreaks feel totally real. Martin’s hilarious, heartbreaking, and painfully believable series Feel Good is no exception.
Screenhub’s games and digital content lead, Jini Maxwell, couldn’t recommend it more highly:
Feel Good is a warm, hopeful, heart-wrenching portrait of queer life and love written by and starring Mae Martin. Martin plays a semi-autobiographical character of the same name: Mae in the show is a neurotic, magnetic queer comedian living in London who is in recovery from a cocaine addiction. She enters a relationship with the tightly wound George, charmingly played by Fresh Meat’s Charlotte Ritchie, a young school teacher who has never been in a queer relationship before.
The first series follows Mae and George as they fumble their way through shame, codependency, lust, and avoidance as they establish their relationship. George doesn’t want to tell her nightmarishly posh friends about Mae, and it turns out that Mae, despite her ardent romantic streak, doesn’t want to tell George about anything: not her issues with addiction, not her past relationships, and definitely not reason she sometimes needs to hide under the bed to breathe.
There’s nothing stereotypical about their love story. George isn’t defined by her struggles to come out, and Mae isn’t reducible to her trauma. The cast of the show feel similarly complex, regardless of how much time they spend on screen. Even the members of Mae’s Narcotics Anonymous meetings, a source of much of the first season’s humour, are presented with pathos and depth.
Feel Good is a beautiful tribute to queer love and the work we do to be good to each other, presented with both humour and dimension. Season one will make you laugh and wince; season two will make you laugh and cry, as George settles confidently into being out, while it becomes painfully clear that being in love isn’t solving all of Mae’s problems.
It strikes me as rare to see this side of love presented on screen: not the triumph of the relationship, but the work, personal and interpersonal, that goes into maintaining and nourishing it. If you’re looking for a queer series to fill your mind and heart while wait until the second season of Work in Progress, which premieres on Stan on 23 August, Feel Good is the perfect show for you.
Watch the trailer for Feel Good Season 2 below: