So all of the interviews have been centered around gender, and it’s really kind of a small thread in season two. You end up having to undo all that hard work and just give a sound bite. Mae Martin. So yeah, we stayed true to our intentions. I rarely see that kind of slightly dom energy. The result is, with the show, you can feel both you and Mae, the character, processing, where a lot of television or movies tend to feel like, “Here is where I landed.” There’s a scene where your character is wondering if there is a word that represents how they feel about their gender, and George says sweetly, “It’s nonbinary. With Me Too–type stuff and sexual assault in general, I think we know that this is most commonly happening with people that you know and care about, people you have an existing relationship with, whether that’s a friend or a partner or a family member. It’s just one small aspect of a show that’s a love story about addiction and codependency and all kinds of things. Co-creators Mae Martin (who also stars) and Joe Hampson wanted to make a funny yet grounded romantic comedy based on Martin’s real life and experiences. I haven’t spoken to my parents about this stuff. The result is a complex portrait as opposed to an easy-to-digest statement, despite the media’s interest in such things these days. Even when George is like, “You know, this stuff happened 15 years ago,” that is definitely something that I say to myself, for better or for worse, in my head. There’s no winners. Also you see the vocabulary change and people’s familiarity and comfort with the changes.Yeah, it’s weird — even, like, genderwise, talking about the character. You can read an excerpt from the transcript or listen to the full episode below. I’ve seen a lot of stories where, for instance, someone that’s previously been straight then starts dating someone of the same sex or not the opposite sex and then it’s like explosive fireworks. It’s not pleasant to cut someone out of your life or to get revenge on someone. Was there a pressure to be more explicit on where you stood on certain issues you were touching on?Yeah, there was a little bit of pressure. A lot of the things in the show are things I haven’t said to my close friends and family. A few conversations have been amazing, but especially in the U.K., there’s a real hysteria around gender right now. I’ve seen a lot of things about men struggling to come but not so much women. It was interesting watching the show while at the same time listening to and reading old interviews with you. I see a lot of queer sex scenes that are very tender and beautiful; my sex life isn’t always that tender. It’s definitely been interesting promoting season two. I wonder what it would be like to listen back to interviews because I’m quite open in interviews, and my opinions do change, I think. Tune in to Good One every Thursday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. They wanted to make something small that tells a personal story, not make a grand statement. So that felt important. I haven’t been home to Canada since before season one came out. And I probably do say things that other characters then say to me. Sex is funny, and it’s weird. And I really wanted to push back against that because that’s not what it’s like in reality. Netflix is pretty good at walking the walk in terms of authored stories, I think. I’m comfortable as “she” or “they,” so it’s fine. I like how specific it is. And I’ve rarely seen people struggling to come. I guess I’m now saying I’m nonbinary, but the character in season one was not there yet. It feels like, with a lot of your work, you’re trying to flip the idea of “the personal is political” in that you take these things that are treated as politics and make them personal. I don’t think you get to see girls being horny and weird enough. You try to give them a human scale.I hope so. It’s a lot messier than that. And I like that [the show’s other main character] George is so horny in it. Like the other day in this interview, I kept fucking up my own pronouns, but the interviewer was really on point. I guess what’s frustrating is you spend all this time trying to make the point that I hope I’m trying to make — which is that these things are nuanced and complicated and we don’t have to come down so hard on one side; I want to show the ambiguity, the gray area, the uncertainty — but then you end up having to discuss the show within the very narrow parameters of the public discourse around those things. It would have been nice to write a revenge fantasy, but it would’ve been, I think, less effective and less realistic. And then that becomes the headline. But it’s also insane. Yeah, it’s a bit of a head fuck. I do think you should Google it.” And you are just like, “I probably should Google it.”George definitely is a useful mouthpiece for my inner monologue about myself. More From This Series
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Tags: With Feel Good’s second and final season premiering on Netflix this Friday, June 4, Martin joins Vulture’s Good One podcast, in which they discuss wrapping up the show, writing funny sex scenes, and not providing easy answers. It’s partly because I’d never seen anything like it. Good One
A Podcast About Jokes
There’s a big role-play arc in season two, which started in season one with the Susan Sarandon sex scene. It’s so messy. There’s one thing they pushed back on: Without giving too many spoilers, there’s a thread about me grappling with a trauma and a relationship with a much older guy, so I think there was some pressure to come down hard on him at the end of the final confrontation, like have her kick him in the balls or something. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images
Netflix’s Feel Good is a show that touches on a lot of issues — sexuality, gender identity, drug addiction, sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress — but it is not a show about those issues. How did that start?I really was so attached to the scene and fought so hard for it to be as long as it is. It makes me laugh — the character can only come when they’re being told not to come, and I think people can relate to that.