I Feel Bad

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
I Feel Bad TV Poster Image
Female-led comedy has some language, mixed messages.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

You can still be a great daughter, wife, mom, and co-worker without being perfect. Sexism is a theme, as is the role of a wife and mom at home. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Emet isn’t perfect, but she's strong, accomplished and she tries to do the right thing. She also tries not to feel too guilty about it when she makes mistakes. 

Violence

Some yelling. A cast member falls from a climbing wall. 

Sex

Strong innuendo. References to "boobs," "booty," other body parts. Some sexy dancing. 

Language

Words like "hell," "ass," and "crap." Blurred mouths and bleeped language is featured. 

Consumerism

Apple and Microsoft tech products visible. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine, beer, hard alcohol. Humorous references to drugs like crystal meth. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that I Feel Bad is a comedy that reveals the challenges of balancing a career and family told from an Indian-American woman’s point of view. There’s some strong sexual innuendo, some iffy language (including bleeps and blurred mouths), and drinking (wine, beer, hard alcohol). There some occasional yelling, and some humorous accidents (with ensuing injuries), and lots of sexist banter in Emet's workplace. 

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What's the story?

Produced by Amy Poehler, I FEEL BAD is a comedy series about a woman who has it all, doing what she can to keep herself together. Emet Kamala-Sweetzer (Sarayu Blue) is a close and supportive wife to David (Paul Adelstein) and hands-on mom to their three kids. But life at home is anything but simple, especially when her quirky dad Sonny and critical mother Maya (played by Brian George and Madhur Jaffrey, respectively) live nearby. Meanwhile, Emet's full-time job as the head artist of the Bay Area’s fictitious Game Punch video game company keeps her busy. It doesn't help that as the only female artist, she has to work with nerdy and sexist co-workers like Chewey (James Buckley), Norman (Zach Cherry), and Griff (Johnny Pemberton). As she navigates her way through each day, she makes mistakes like everyone else, and tries hard not to feel guilty about any of it. 

Is it any good?

This fun but flawed series highlights the day-to-day struggles of balancing a successful professional life and a full home life. From Emet sneaking away to her neighbor’s empty house for a simple 20 minutes to clear her head after work in order to deal with whatever is happening at home, to flat-out lying to her kids in order to keep the peace, it underscores many of the concerns, tensions, and frustrations women experience as they attempt to meet multiple personal and professional obligations.

While the voice of the show is decidedly female, it falls short of delivering a clear feminist directive. Emet’s character is a strong, but is subjected to endless chauvinist banter intended to create a laugh during workplace scenes. Meanwhile, she often appears to carry the bulk of the responsibility when it comes to managing the children and keeping the household together amidst the sitcom-driven chaos. Ultimately, I Feel Bad is full of laughs, but what we’re supposed to take away from it is muddled by its own comedic devices. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the challenges Emet faces as a working mother. Does her experience reflect what most women go through in similar situations?

  • What messages is I Feel Bad sending about the ability of women to balance a successful career and a family life? What kinds of things does Emet have that help her with this process? 

TV details

For kids who love sitcoms

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