Beth is a wine distributor living in Manhattan with a life that looks perfect on the outside, but when her mother dies, she returns to her hometown and starts having flashback on the teenager she was, who she has become and who she would like to be in “Life and Beth.” While going through her introspection, she ends up connecting with a quirky guy in her hometown. The series is created, written and produced by comedienne Amy Schumer and is loosely based on elements of her own life.
At first glance, this feels like the plot of a Hallmark movie. The successful career woman who must return home for some reason. She finds something missing in her life that can only be fulfilled by the quirky guy from her hometown. But this series does a better job than a Hallmark movie at conveying real life emotions. It’s more than just woman who left small town finds love when she returns. We see all of Beth’s struggles, many of them coinciding with similar struggles in Schumer’s life, and we see what she loves and doesn’t about her life in both the small town and the big city. The Hallmark plot line is just a surface level comparison. This series digs deeper and it’s better for it.
I was especially moved by the trichotillomania plotline given Schumer really suffers from trichotillomania and has been open about having to wear bad wigs after pulling out her own hair over the years. I don’t know much about trichotillomania, but I was invested in it.
I was hesitant to watch this series because I’m not a fan of two of the main actors. I was first introduced to Amy Schumer through “Last Comic Standing.” I found her funny on there, but when I watched some of her other stand-up, it felt like she had run out of material. I tried to watch her show “Inside Amy Schumer,” and I know it won several awards, but the humor never appealed to me. In the end, I’ve just accepted that her style of comedy isn’t for me. But I definitely enjoyed her in this more dramatic role. Meanwhile, Michael Cera has made a career out of playing the quirky guy. His career has been hit and miss for me. I enjoyed him in “Scott Pilgrim Versus the World,” “Superbad,” and “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.” But I didn’t care for him in “Juno” or “Year One.” He was fine here.
Did I love this series? No. Was it bad? No. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. But it would be far from appointment viewing for me. It’s a series that I wouldn’t have watched if I wasn’t reviewing it and it’s a series that I won’t go back to again. It’s not for me and that’s okay. But if you like Amy Schumer or Michael Cera, give it a shot. It might be for you.