Lady Dynamite

Lady Dynamite
Genre Comedy
Created by Pam Brady
Mitch Hurwitz
Starring Maria Bamford
Fred Melamed
Mary Kay Place
Composer(s) David Schwartz
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 12
Executive producer(s) Maria Bamford
Mitch Hurwitz
Pam Brady
Kristen Zolner
Andy Weil
Jane Wiseman
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 26-35 minutes
Production company(s) Wounded Poodle
The Hurwitz Company
Distributor Netflix
Original network Netflix
Picture format 1080i (16:9 HDTV)
Original release May 20, 2016 – present
External links
Official website

Lady Dynamite is an American comedy series created by Pam Brady and Mitch Hurwitz, on Netflix.[1] The series stars Maria Bamford, and is loosely based on her life. The twelve-episode first season was released in its entirety on May 20, 2016. The series was renewed for a second season, along with several other Netflix Originals, on July 27, 2016.[2][3]


Stand-up comedian/actress Maria Bamford (portrayed by herself) moves back to Los Angeles after spending six months away in recovery for bipolar disorder and attempts to build up her life from scratch with the help of her agent Bruce Ben-Bacharach (Fred Melamed). Throughout the entire first season, flashbacks are employed to gain an insight on Maria's backstory and her relationships with her family and friends.



Maria Bamford, star of the show.


Guest stars[3][4][5]


Concept and development

"What I hope people get from [the show] is that by losing everything, it's possible to become something better. At least in real life, I have a much more reasonably paced life than I ever had when I was slightly banana head. In losing some of my ambition, it made it so I can have relationships and a better life. That has been learned throughout the ages: You mean money and prestige doesn't make people happy? Nope."

Bamford explaining the series for[6]

The show came to be when Mitch Hurwitz approached Maria Bamford and asked her if she had an idea for a series, reportedly in 2013.[6] Part of the pitch was telling a story about a mental breakdown. The project was no more than talks for years. Later, Hurwitz attached Pam Brady to the project to write and direct. Bamford described this process as "extremely slow".[6]

The use of nonlinear narrative in the show was part of Bamford's pitch. It is used to portray the different mental states people can go through, and also how they overcome it. In that way, the show's flashbacks serve as "a reminder of that journey."[6] Bamford describes the show's narrative structure as "Bloodline, with me."

Bamford, who is a stand-up comedian, decided not to use stand-up comedy as a device in her show. When asked about her decision, she explained: "Even though that is a reasonable way of telling the story, I do have a self-conscious feeling of "I don't want to see the same thing over and over"".[6] This decision is depicted in the pilot episode of the series.


Maria Bamford was involved in the writing process, but she did not write any episode herself. In spite of the show being based on Bamford's real life, the writers had freedom to modify her experiences for creative purposes. For example, in the pilot episode, Maria puts a bench in front of her house in an effort to promote a sense of community in her neighborhood. This idea came from Bamford's real life.

Even though she did not take a hands-on approach in the writing of the series, she was in the writers' room often, to discuss ideas and "hang out" with the writers.[6] Writing credits include Kyle McCulloch, former South Park writer, and Jen Statsky, former Parks and Recreation and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon writer.[7]


Former Arrested Development collaborators Max Winkler and Andrew Fleming directed episodes for Lady Dynamite. Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious), Academy award winner Jessica Yu and Ryan McFaul also directed episodes.


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Pilot"Mitch HurwitzPam Brady & Mitch HurwitzMay 20, 2016 (2016-05-20)
Jumping back into L.A. life after six months away, Maria hatches a brilliant plan to meet her neighbors and get back into Mark McGrath's good graces.
2"Bisexual Because of Meth"Andrew FlemingTheresa Mulligan RosenthalMay 20, 2016 (2016-05-20)
Maria weighs an offer to star in a wacky Ramen ad and embarks on a confusing new romance with a recovering meth addict.
3"White Trash"Daniel Gray LonginoKyle McCullochMay 20, 2016 (2016-05-20)
Worried she may be an unwitting racist, Maria seeks out a support group and fights for a big change on the set of a sitcom pilot starring the Lucas Brothers and Mira Sorvino.
4"Jack and Diane"Bill BenzMatt Ross & Max SearleMay 20, 2016 (2016-05-20)
When Maria slips into a sultry voice at a party, a handsome stranger (Brandon Routh) falls under her spell—and brings out her worst people-pleaser tendencies.
5"I Love You"Robert CohenJen StatskyMay 20, 2016 (2016-05-20)
Maria struggles to keep up with a sporty new beau. But before she can break it off, the relationship takes a startling turn.
6"Loaf Coach"Andrew FlemingTheresa Mulligan RosenthalMay 20, 2016 (2016-05-20)
After a long history of over-committing, Maria hires a "loaf coach" to help her master the art of doing nothing. But her timing couldn't be worse as she receives an audition for a Judd Apatow film.
7"Josue"Max WinklerKyle McCullochMay 20, 2016 (2016-05-20)
Maria brings on a savvy young adviser to help her conquer her fear of children before a charity benefit.
8"A Vaginismus Miracle"Robert CohenJen StatskyMay 20, 2016 (2016-05-20)
Maria's first audition in months leads to fireworks on the Fox lot. Later, she races to have sex before her annual deadline.
9"No Friend Left Behind"Ben BermanTheresa Mulligan RosenthalMay 20, 2016 (2016-05-20)
Fearing she's ruined all her relationships, Maria seeks out a bitter former friend and vows to win her back by any means necessary.
10"Knife Feelings"Ryan McFaulMatt Ross & Max SearleMay 20, 2016 (2016-05-20)
Maria braves a romantic hurdle by inviting Scott to her tell-all stand-up show. But she doesn't count on him having some dark secrets of his own.
11"Mein Ramp"Jessica YuPam BradyMay 20, 2016 (2016-05-20)
Maria is mortified to learn she's trending on YouTube for being the face of a child soldier army. In a flashback, she faces a difficult choice: her meds or her career.
12"Enter the Super Grisham"Max WinklerPam BradyMay 20, 2016 (2016-05-20)
While Scott tries to figure out what went wrong, Maria throws herself into her work. In the past, a Checklist gig finally pushes her over the edge.


Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 94% (31 reviews)[8] 85% (15 reviews)[9]

The first season of Lady Dynamite has received widespread acclaim from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a rating of 94%, based on 31 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Maria Bamford's Lady Dynamite is a vibrant, subversive, sweet, meta-fictional ride - but also a courageous, boundary-busting and ultimately deep portrayal of a troubled psyche."[8] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 85 out of 100, based on 15 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[9] The show has garnered attention because of its depiction of mental illness.[10][11][12][13][14]

The New York Times described the show as "[having] its own bizarre-sincere voice and its own dream logic" and "something else, in a good way: a journey to the center of Ms. Bamford’s mind that dives through fantasy after loopy fantasy and emerges with something real."[15] About the show's style, The New York Times noted that "The show’s creators, Pam Brady (South Park) and Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development), have constructed a multipurpose fun house; we jump about in time and flit from meta-show to memoir to hallucination."[15]

Variety described Bamford's performance saying that "the actress and comedian, whose presence has rarely been used as well as it is here, manages the neat trick of being both believably guileless and winningly sharp."[16] Variety also praised the show's guest stars, stating: "the entire show gains a great deal of energy from a varied array of game guest actors, including Mira Sorvino, Patton Oswalt, Ana Gasteyer, Brandon Routh, and Bridget Everett, all of whom appear delighted to be in Bamford’s playfully serious orbit."

Critics have compared the series to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Community, Review and BoJack Horseman because of the way it uses meta-humor, absurdist humor and how it deals with mental health.[16][17]


  1. "Netflix Orders Maria Bamford Comedy Series From Mitch Hurwitz & Pam Brady". Deadline. June 19, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Maria Bamford Announces 'Lady Dynamite' Premiere Date – With A Little Help". Deadline. February 23, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  4. "Maria Bamford announces premiere date for new Netflix series". Entertainment Weekly. February 23, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  5. "Maria Bamford's Netflix Show 'Lady Dynamite' Premieres on May 20th". e. February 23, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Fox, Jesse David (May 20, 2016). "Maria Bamford Walks You Through Lady Dynamite, Her Mitch Hurwitz–Produced New Show". Vulture. Retrieved August 7, 2016. C1 control character in |title= at position 65 (help)
  7. Peyser, Eve (31 August 2015). "Jen Statsky on the art of the one-liner, writing for late night, and comedy with 'heart'". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  8. 1 2 "Lady Dynamite: Season 1 (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  9. 1 2 "Lady Dynamite: Season 1 reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  10. "The Biphobia In 'Lady Dynamite' Is The Only Thing Holding It Back From Perfection". The Frisky. July 11, 2016. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  11. Clausen, Evelyn Anne (June 23, 2016). "We've Never Had a TV Depiction of Mental Illness Quite Like Lady Dynamite". Slate Magazine. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  12. Syme, Rachel (2016-05-31). "Maria Bamford Mines Mental Illness for Her Sitcom, 'Lady Dynamite'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  13. "How 'Lady Dynamite' Helps Fans Cope With Mental Illness". Vocativ. 2016-07-02. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  14. Kang, Inkoo (2016-05-24). "Lady Dynamite: Maria Bamford Tries To Blow Up the Sitcom For Netflix". MTV News. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  15. 1 2 Poniewozik, James (May 18, 2016). "Review: 'Lady Dynamite' Finds Surreal Humor in Mental Illness". The New York Times. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  16. 1 2 Ryan, Maureen (May 17, 2016). "TV Review: 'Lady Dynamite'". Variety. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  17. Saunders, Tristram Fane (May 25, 2016). "Lady Dynamite, Netflix, review: 'the world is finally ready for Maria Bamford'". The Telegraph. Retrieved August 6, 2016.

External links

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