Season 2 is better than season 1, this is something that I NEVER say. Actually I don’t think I have EVER said it about any show ever. Lady Dynamite was one of my favourite comedies of last year, I must have watched the whole season a total of 4 times and each time I still laughed, and I’m not talking a light ha ha, I am talking rolling belly laughs, eyes watering as comedian Maria Bamford and a bunch of other extremely talented comedians delivered one of the best comedy shows I’m now going to claim as ever made. This trend continues in season 2 as I laughed more, I cried more and I reveled in the joy and tone of this extremely important show.
For those who are new to Lady Dynamite, the show is the most auto biographical show possibly ever made and stars comedian Maria Bamford playing herself. Bamford has been diagnosed with bipolar II as well as OCD. It is to her complete compliment that she introduces these to this show and is no stranger to showcasing mental disorders and breaking down the stigma. This season this is catapulted forward even more by exploring co-habitation and the challenges of living with someone with these attributes. Not only is it extremely hilarious to watch Maria and her boyfriend Scott (Olafur Darri Olafsson) navigate through their new living situation while dealing with Scott’s problems with money and then the issues of trust that evolve from this. It is rare that a comedy show would delve into these themes and the fact that the chemistry between the two leads is perfect just helps cement the delivery flawlessly.
If this hasn’t convinced you to watch it, the showrunners are Pam Brady Mitch Hurwitz, who have made shows like Arrested Development and movies like Team America : World Police and South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. The writing is sharp and fast, particularly when it comes to Karen Grisham (Ana Gasteyer) who plays the producer,writer,editor and PR person for Maria’s future show called Space Nuts. If you haven’t seen Grisham in season 1, do yourself a favour, go back and binge every scene she is in. She has incredible comedic timing and provides some of the best laugh out loud moments in both seasons. I feel like we saw less of her this season, however when we did it still had the same impact. Karen is just as crass and hilarious as before, now working for Elon Musk’s new streaming service (set in the future) Muskvision.
This season we are only given 8 episodes, and while this seems incredibly small, it is tightly packed with a lot of laughs and a lot of extremely good comedic timing and acting. The show is structured in Maria’s Past with her childhood growing up as a teen in the small town of Duluth. Her parents are hilariously played by Mary Kay Place and Kurt Braunohler. These flashbacks are continuously used to showcase why Maria is reacting like she is in the present. There were quite a few of them and they were a joy to watch to see a different time and different values. The future was used as kind of a flow on effect from decisions she was making in the present and how these affect the future. It sounds like it could get confusing, but fortunately due to tight script writing and an 8 episode order, it never feels jarring or loses the viewer along the way.
Delving into domesticity feels like an odd direction for this show, but it works. Explaining the adjustments that both Maria and Scott have to make to co-habitate successfully is hilarious to watch. They both have different issues that feed each other’s neurosis, often providing an entertaining and humorous culmination of events. While there are some quite dark moments in this season it feels a lot lighter than the last one. Netflix have done the right thing renewing this show and hopefully we should get wind of a season 3 renewal soon (if they know what’s good for them!)
If you are a fan of fun and wacky comedy that isn’t afraid to dive into some deep territory, then Lady Dynamite is the perfect show for you. I enjoyed the early episodes so much I strained myself staying up to finish all 8 episodes in one night (worth every second!) Bamford has become one of my favourite comedians since this show came out (you should also check out her comedy special Old Baby, also available on Netflix). Season 2 is the perfect continuation of the series providing the best comedy TV show I have seen this year.
Lady Dynamite Season 2 is streaming now exclusively on Netflix.
Review by Alaisdair Leith