This week Lady Dynamite was not picked up for another season on Netflix. If you have not seen Lady Dynamite it is a cutting edge comedy based on the life of its star, Maria Bamford. Bamford is a comedian and actor living with Bipolar Disorder. Through Lady Dynamite she tells the story of her struggles with mental illness and her journey to better herself.
Lady Dynamite has done a great deal to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness and more specifically Bipolar Disorder. I have personally used the show as a tool to help explain what life with Bipolar Disorder is like. The show depicts Bipolar in a variety of ways. My partner described it best when he said ‘the show it’s self has Bipolar’. For instance, certain characters represent different facets of Mania such as paranoia and delusions of grandeur. There is one scene where Bamford is talking to her agent about her meds making her sleepy and her agent assures her that going off her medication would be the best thing for her work and her life. In this context, the conversation between the two characters represents an internal monologue many people with Bipolar have with themselves about their medication. This is just one example of the clever ways Bamford and Lady Dynamite break down the boundaries in portraying mental illness on television.
This is why it broke my heart so much when Lady Dynamite was cancelled. Lady Dynamite made me feel seen. Not only does it help people understand Bipolar better but it normalises the presence of people with Bipolar in society. I felt strangely honoured to have my mental illness be the focus of a television show. It made me feel special. When I looked at Bamford’s character I saw myself. I saw a woman living with Bipolar trying to improve herself and find a balance between her work and personal life. Bamford’s journey to wellness mirrors my own in many ways. She learns about the importance of self-care and putting herself first before things like work and other commitments. I saw so much of myself in her character. So no longer being able to see her on television hurts. It makes me truly sad that other people wont get to see more of Lady Dynamite and get to understand my reality.
All seriousness aside, if you’d like to watch the two seasons of Lady Dynamite check it out on Netflix. I highly recommend it. Beyond just being a show about mental illness it is hilarious. I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.