Mae Martin’s Netflix comedy series, Feel good, ended this year with its second season. Positively received by critics, Feel good Martin’s own encounters with sexuality and drug addiction are worth a look for his tragicomic look. To further the story’s drama, family dynamics and relationship issues are added to the Canadian comedian’s struggles on the series.
Even if Feel good stands strong on its own, drawing comparisons to similar dramatic comedy series that increasingly draw on the writer’s personal stories to deliver a more realistic and genuine on-screen experience.
10 Master Of None (2015 -) – Available on Netflix
Nobody’s master ushered in a new era of grounded comedy with comedian Aziz Ansari drawing on a wide variety of influences to explore the personal and professional aspects of his life in New York. The beauty of this Netflix original lies in the sheer randomness of its approach. If one episode focused on the protagonist’s generation gap with his parents, the other would involve a culinary trip to Italy.
The show reached a new level of romantic maturity with its final season, titled moments of love, a spin-off that focuses on the character of Denise (Lena Waithe) and the ups and downs of her love life.
9 Ramy (2019 -) – Available on Hulu
Framework follow a similar approach as shown as Feel good in the sense that it uses a semi-autobiographical approach from the perspective of a comedian. In this case, the central subject is Ramy Hassan (Ramy Youssef), a Muslim millennial who fights for his identity in the United States. As he seeks to get closer to his cultural and religious roots, he ends up falling into situations that hurt his family and friends.
The titular hero’s self-destructive journey evokes bittersweet emotions like FrameworkThe observational view of sociopolitical problems in modern America is revealing and comforting.
8 I Can Destroy You (2020) – Available on HBO Max
Inspired by the real life of Michaela Coel, I can destroy you is one of the best HBO miniseries today that wowed critics and audiences last year, and for good reason. The central premise revolves around Arabella (Coel), a writer who seeks to restart her life after recovering from a traumatic incident. The complex lives of his peers intertwine to give a nuanced and satirical version of sexual abuse, racism, male privilege and the new era of social media fame.
With only 12 episodes, I can destroy you makes for a quick binge. However, viewers can test the show at their own pace given the sensitive nature of its content.
7 Crashing (2017-2019) – Available on HBO Max
Crashing stars comedian Pete Holmes as a fictional version of himself. He plays a comedian who hopes to find his big break and make ends meet after a divorce leads to homelessness. Co-starring several real-life comedians and directed primarily by comedy veteran Judd Apatow, CrashingThe first three seasons received an overwhelmingly positive response.
Unfortunately, the series was canceled after three seasons without a proper conclusion. Fans are hoping that a film adaptation it could be in the cards.
6 Special (2019 – 2021) – Available on Netflix
Written by and starring Ryan O’Connell, Special is a Netflix comedy that focuses on O’Connell’s life as a gay man with cerebral palsy. The show’s feel-good approach subverts the tropes of callous and stereotypical queer representation as it focuses on genuine empathy and understanding of the central character, rather than just pity.
Special is meant to tug at the viewer’s heartstrings with its exploration of O’Connell’s complicated romantic relationships and his bond with an overprotective mother. Adding to the mix is Punam Patel’s outstanding performance as the upbeat best friend of the main character, Kim. Uplifting writing, positive portrayal, and limited episode count make Special A must for anyone looking to binge on Netflix.
5 Insecure (2016 -) – Available on HBO Max
Adapted from Issa Rae’s web series Clumsy black girl, Unsafe revolves around the careers and struggles in the relationships of best friends Issa (Issa Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji). Together, they tend to face these personal crises while living in Los Angeles. Aside from the situational and observational comedy, the series ends by exploring sociopolitical issues of race and identity with a frankly sardonic writing style.
Since its debut, the show has turned its lead into a star and garnered multiple Golden Globe and Emmys nominations. With four seasons so far, the next fifth season is expected to be the last.
4 Barry (2018 -) – Available on HBO Max
Barry is a dark comedy on HBO, full of big gags about the eponymous hero who aspires to be an actor. Battling PTSD after troublesome experiences as a soldier and hitman, Barry (Bill Hader) struggles to find a new path. A lighthearted acting coach (Henry Winkler) seems to offer you a much-needed escapism in this regard. But as the story progresses, Barry’s past catches up with him and leads him to one violent misadventure after another.
Barry It could incorporate some formula tropes, but its execution is such that it makes for a unique television experience. Aside from Hader’s committed act as a war veteran, supporting performances from actors like Stephen Root and Anthony Carrigan garner the spotlight.
3 Please Like Me (2013-2016) – Available on Hulu
Australian comedian Josh Thomas served as showrunner, writer, and lead actor in the comedy-drama. Please like me. Based on his personal encounters with adulthood, the show deals with the various ways Josh tries to make sense of his transition to “20”. If dealing with adult responsibilities wasn’t enough, Josh also comes to the conclusion that he might be gay, after his girlfriend dumps him.
The show received rave reviews for its brutally honest approach to real-life problems with little to no reliance on forced humor.
two Fleabag (2016-2019) – Available on Amazon Prime Video
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s masterpiece is fresh and unconventional in its approach to trauma, modern romance, and a highly dysfunctional family. Waller-Bridge often breaks the fourth wall while playing the title character, giving viewers a glimpse into his chaotic life.
On the surface Fleabag She is a free-spirited woman. But with each new episode, her character’s layers come undone as she reveals herself to be a sensitive person struggling with the pain of losing her best friend. When it comes to the pantheon of tragicomedies, Fleabag is definitely one of the best options, giving its protagonist a much-needed opportunity to show off his dry humor.
1 Kidding (2018-2020) – Available on Showtime
It’s a prank finds comedy legend Jim Carrey unleashing a darker side of his personality. The Showtime original finds Carrey in the role of Jeff Pickles, a Mister Rogers-like figure who hosts a children’s show. With his profession and his general naivety, Pickles strives to take a positive approach to everything in life, even in the face of a personal tragedy such as the death of his son.
This overdose of positivity ends up having disastrous results in his relationships with his loved ones, as Pickles embarks on an introspective journey to find closure. With an emotionally sensitive story and Carrey’s heartbreaking performance, It’s a prank is black comedy at its finest.
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