‘I Feel Bad’ stars feeling good about show’s South Asian representation
Actress Sarayu Blue says she’s excited to be a part of South Asian representation in the TV comedy world with the new series “I Feel Bad.”
Debuting Wednesday as a special preview on Global and NBC, the show stars Blue as a storyboard artist at a Los Angeles video game company struggling to juggle her job, motherhood and her relationship with her husband, played by Paul Adelstein.
Comedy star Amy Poehler is an executive producer on the show, which moves to its regular Thursday night timeslot on Oct. 4
“I think it’s really exciting to see an interracial relationship, to see biracial children, to see a South Asian family,” Blue, who was born in Wisconsin and is of Indian heritage, said in an interview.
“It’s brought a specificity to the script that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.”
At the same time, the show maintains a broad relatability, she added.
“It’s not like it’s just for one audience, and that’s what’s exciting — to really see that shift in the industry, that people are starting to recognize you can cast in a very specific way and still maintain an incredible amount of relatability,” said Blue, who recently starred in the film “Blockers.”
“We’ve seen that with a lot of shows like ‘Black-ish’ and ‘Fresh Off the Boat.’ There are a lot of shows out there that do this.”
Adelstein noted “I Feel Bad” doesn’t focus on a culture clash, either.
“It is a mixture of people that look different, that all live in the same place and that they are all, in this case, Americans, and there are differences that they have and there are generational differences,” said the former “Private Practice” and “Prison Break” star.
“But it’s not a, ‘Oh, watch these South Asian people try to become American’ or anything like that. This is a typical American family.”
And it’s a solid family unit, despite the couple’s neuroses as they raise three children, say the stars.
Together for 15 years, the husband-and-wife duo in the show are supportive of each other and maintain a sense of humour as they split childcare duties and live near her parents who are constantly visiting them.
Blue’s character is plagued with guilt about whether she’s doing a good enough job as a mother and wife. And she feels out of her element at work, where she works with mostly young, millennial men.
“I was just so drawn to this character,” Blue said.
“She’s human and complicated and a disaster and that’s just how we all feel, I think, all day, every day.”
Poehler created an environment for the cast to do their best and build strong chemistry, said the stars.
“I think it comes from the top, the culture of a show, and it gets established early on,” Adelstein said.
“And that comes from not just the casting but who’s writing it and who’s producing it and how it runs really goes into the DNA of the thing.
“And Amy had a great deal to do with making that right.”