There’s a lot of new “original” content on Hulu and while I’m very picky about what I choose to consume, the shows I do select (Only Murders in the Building, Little Fires Everywhere, Nine Perfect Strangers among others) have all been winners. The same can be said of Amy Schumer’s dry comedy, Life & Beth.
Hailing from Schumer who stars and executive produces, Life & Beth is a bittersweet series about a woman nearing mid life who decides it’s finally time to shake things up and stop living her life for others. Beth is almost 40 and living with longtime “partner” Matt (Kevin Kane) who she just can’t seem to call her boyfriend. They work for a wacky wine distributor in New York who proudly celebrates their collective mediocrity with weekly officewide Karaoke outings. Beth is good at her job, but remains the normal one amongst the oddball crew, while Matt is adored by everyone in her life including her well meaning but self absorbed mother (Laura Benanti).
A sudden tragedy at home forces Beth back to revisit elements of her youth and the life and friends she left behind. As she copes with the major change, she keeps focusing on work and begins to develop a friendship with the scruffy groundskeeper (Michael Cera) at a Long Island Vineyard she’s hoping to contract.
The series is told in present day and through flashbacks to her formative high school years with young Beth played beautifully by (Violet Young). She works hard to make the most of each happy, sad, or humiliating encounter with mixed results, but almost always at a cost to her. Anytime she shares the tiniest bits of truth about herself she’s ignored and instantly shifts to fit the mold that everyone else has envisioned for her. It’s sad, a bit humorous, and relatable. Beth is generous with its discomfort and messiness and leaves it all in the open for its audience to absorb, never pushing into cringy territory. The story here always feels like there’s good waiting on the other side.
If you’re coming to Life & Beth for Schumer’s stand up humor you won’t find it here. The audible laughs were few and far between, with the premise and settings truly serving as the comedy and giving off the “life is so weird, you just have to laugh” vibe. Still, Schumer is just as entertaining to watch playing the straight man as she is the goofball, expertly balancing heart and humor in this character. The series is as offbeat as it is grounded and will hit (shockingly) close to home for any viewer who feels that yes, they can do better.
I give Life & Beth 4 out 5 karaoke versions of Ace of Base’s “I Saw the Sign.”
All 10 episodes of Life & Beth will premiere on Hulu on Friday, March 18th