Mae Martin writes and stars in this comedy exploring how messed up life can be.
I love a good dark comedy and I especially love a comedy that’s aimed at trying to explore real-life issues. This show is the middle of that Venn diagram. Mae Martin, who you may have seen in their Netflix stand-up special, plays Mae, a character who is blatantly based on them. Mae is an English-Canadian comedian who is living in England and meets a young English woman named George (Charlotte Ritchie). The two quickly hit it off and begin dating. Eventually, they move in together, only for each to discover that the other one is hiding something. Mae has not admitted to George that they are a recovering drug addict while George did not tell Mae that she is still in the closet out of fear of her proper English family.
A lot of the series’ humor is derived from the fact that these two are both broken individuals, albeit in very different ways. George can’t be open about her bisexuality, to the point that she is constantly lying to her parents and friends about having a boyfriend. She can’t ever be her real self around anyone but Mae. Meanwhile, Mae is still a recovering addict who is not only ashamed of that fact but often bordering on being in denial. Their parents, Linda and Malcolm (Lisa Kudrow and Adrian Lukis), are a bit distant with her but also try to be supportive. They previously kicked her out when they were younger, leading them to live with an older man for a while, something that haunts Mae. Mae’s attempts to go through the steps of recovery often seem insincere because they sometimes seem unconvinced that recovery is real.
Watching the pair grow both together and separately through the series is interesting. Mae and George are an adorable couple, but they also are bad for each other as often as they are good. Both of them are often selfish and their attempts to “help” the other one are really just thinly veiled excuses to further their own ends. The show isn’t just a story about how these two get to their happy ending, in fact it’s possible it won’t end that way, but it does manage to balance some of the nihilist and cynical moments of its characters with moments of emotional growth or warm honesty.
Overall, really a great show. I recommend it.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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