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TV CRITIC'S CORNER

‘Feel Good’ maintains mix of romance and conflict to the end

Mae Martin (left) and Charlotte Ritchie in "Feel Good."
Mae Martin (left) and Charlotte Ritchie in "Feel Good."Courtesy of Netflix

I thoroughly enjoyed the first season of Netflix’s “Feel Good,” comic Mae Martin’s story of a recovering addict in London who has a habit of falling for straight-identifying women, notably George (Charlotte Ritchie). With Martin’s amusingly complicated heroine, strong appearances by Lisa Kudrow as Mae’s mother, and questions of sexuality and gender underpinning the story line, it was a low-profile treat.

So I guessed that the second and final season, also only six episodes, would be a bit — or a lot — disappointing. I was wrong, and happy to be so. The new episodes of “Feel Good” are on a par with the old ones — textured, funny, a bit dramatic, and fitted with a clear theme: trauma and recovery from it.

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This time, Mae is coming out of rehab, and starting to think about the years of her youth that she can’t fully remember. She and George get back together, with all the highs and lows that viewers might expect; for Mae, love is a fantasy that is always doomed to become uncomfortably real. George isn’t in the closet anymore, but that only clears the table for some new issues, including her harmful streak of codependency.

The smart mix of romance and conflict continues to distinguish the show, along with Martin’s flexibility as an actress. Being a comic, as we’ve learned over and over again, does not equal being a happy person; more often, it means being an unhappy person who uses humor as a way to handle life’s difficulties. Whenever good things happen to Mae, including a more visible comedy gig, there is almost always a rub. That title? It’s complicated.


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.