Mae Martin Talks The 'Feel Good' Series Finale And A Cut Scene That Involved Lisa Kudrow Playing The Drums

'I just hope we keep seeing characters that are allowed to be three-dimensional, flawed, and not defined by their sexuality.'

6/10/2021 10:40:00 PM

'I just hope we keep seeing characters that are allowed to be three-dimensional, flawed, and not defined by their sexuality.'

'I just hope we keep seeing characters that are allowed to be three-dimensional, flawed, and not defined by their sexuality.'

from Season 2 of Lisa playing the drums and you playing the guitar, but the scene was cut. I have to ask what that scene was going to be, and did Lisa learn to play the drums for it?[laughs] So, when we were writing, Joe and I were obsessed with this scene where we do family band, and we played the U2 song"One." We put into the script that the whole family plays shockingly well together and they're actually a decent ensemble. So, we got Lisa to take drum lessons and then we actually played live. I hope they let us release the video because it was so good.

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It was me on guitar, Adrian [Lukis], who plays my dad, is on keyboard, Lisa on drums, Charlotte [Ritchie] as George is on the triangle, and Phil [Burgers] was dancing shirtless. It was kind of crazy, but when we watched it in the edit, we were like,"Can we pause the most emotional episode for a two-minute music video?" It just didn't work tonally, but it was really hard to let go of.

Season 2 focuses a lot on Mae and their PTSD. Did you always know that was the story you wanted to tell during the final season?Yeah, in Season 1 we knew that Mae and George were kind of in the flush of new love. Both of those central characters were dealing with external pressures, like the threat of relapse and being closeted. So, we knew that we wanted to start Season 2 with those issues kind of dealt with so that we were forced to get into the deeper reasons for why those people felt like that. So, yeah we did is the short answer, but we didn't know how quickly we wanted to drip feed that information about Mae. I'm happy with the way that some of it is kind of left to the imagination.

BuzzFeed: Yeah, when you watch both seasons back-to-back, Season 1 is really George discovering herself, while Season 2 is more of Mae's journey.Yeah, exactly. I wanted people's allegiance to shift between the characters all the time.NetflixMae and George's relationship was so heartfelt, but also really funny. I feel like, especially in the past, a lot of queer relationships on TV are often very tragic. D

id you feel it was important to bring a lightheartedness to their romance too?I never got too in my head about things like representation because it can totally throw you off kilter and you can lose sight of the story you initially wanted to tell for narrative reasons. But, yeah, when I watch shows where someone says something funny and no one laughs, that always really gets me. Also, relationships are friendships first and foremost, hopefully — the good ones, at least. I think you make each other laugh and you have a shared language.

It was really important to us that we showed that because, in a way, Mae and George are their own community. They're their own little bubble, and within that bubble they can completely be themselves. George has this outlet to be weirder than she's ever been and hornier than she's ever been. While Mae is sort of learning to be vulnerable. So, yeah, it was super important that this relationship was fun too. Also, Charlotte is just so funny. We really find each other funny too. So, that was a happy side effect of working with someone that you find really funny. You just get to have fun.

Your friendship with Charlotte comes across on screen so wonderfully, especially during the role-playing montage in Season 2. How was filming those moments?That was so fun! Initially it was like 10 role-plays, and we had to throw some of them away because everyone was like,"This is getting outrageous." Also, some of them were so obscene, so the ones we landed with are all kind of pop culture–inspired. It was really fun to just dress up in costumes and do weird shit. It was really making us laugh. Joe, my co-writer, and I loved it because the crew was just taking everything deadly serious. So, they are dressing the set to look like

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Game of Thronesor whatever, and Charlotte and I just laughed so hard. We kept throwing different lines at Charlotte that were making her laugh. It was really fun. I think those are some of our favorite days from filming.I love the line this season where Mae identifies themself as a Ryan Gosling or Adam Driver. Was it intentional that Mae thinks of themself as the typical leading man? And how was it charting their exploration of identity this season?

Yeah, it was something we wanted to be ticking away at throughout, but never making it the main focus. I think in Season 1, Mae was experiencing a lot of dysphoria, and it came to a head more dramatically. In this season, they're a little more casual about it, but thinking about it constantly. People make comments to Mae that then prompt them to question it. I've always wanted to be a leading man, and those are the types of people I think that character is trying to channel a lot of the time.

BuzzFeed: It was really great that it all culminated in George telling Mae however they want to identify, she's good with.Thank you. I really wanted it to be handled with a lightness of touch. That reaction from George was actually me writing my fantasy reaction that someone could say. It's been really interesting in the press how much they've focused on this too because that's not what the whole show is about.

NetflixThe simplicity of the series finale where Mae and George are just talking about science was perfect. It's also such a great callback to Phil's line earlier in the season. Is that always the end you envisioned for them?We entertained the idea of having them walk away from each other at the end, but it was just too sad. We wanted to present a hopeful but mature version of that rom-com thing where they might not be perfect for each other, but they've grown enough to work through that. We knew that we wanted nature to be a recurring theme. We originally had this whole thing that we threw in the garbage about Mae needing glasses and refusing to get them. Then, at the end, finally getting glasses, but then the glasses falling in the lake, and Mae falls in the lake after them. It was a whole thing, but I'm glad we kept it simple.

I think both of those characters are pretty solipsistic and they can both be quite self-obsessed. I'm really into the healing power of nature. So, I wanted them to be looking outward at some nice vista. So, the challenge was really how to make rural England look like Canada. And how to make what was essentially a pond look like a Canadian lake. There was some CGI and some drone magic, but it worked.

BuzzFeed: I was going to ask, so you filmed all of this in England and had to just make it look like Canada for part of the season?It was so stressful to me because I obviously know Toronto intimately, but the crew was like,"This looks exactly like Canada, this is great!" Hopefully there's a little suspension of disbelief there.

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Looking back on both seasons ofFeel Good, is there a moment that you're most proud of? Whether it's a story you got to write or an acting moment?That's really a nice question. I definitely have favorite moments. I just have so many happy memories from behind the scenes. The moments that really get me are when it feels really real between the characters. Like, when you can tell that we're having fun and laughing. I really like the slow-dancing scene in Season 1. Aside from moments, I think I'm more proud of the piece as a whole. I'm pleased that we were able to do it, and in COVID times and everything too.

BuzzFeed: You filmed all of Season 2 during the pandemic, right? How was that?We were really nervous about it and nervous that we'd get shut down or that Lisa wouldn't be able to come over [to England]. We were really, really lucky. The most different thing filming this season was that Charlotte and I had to isolate together. So we were in a bubble the whole time in adjacent flats. It really made the whole experience special too because we got to know each other so well, and I think you can see on screen how comfortable we are together.

NetflixAnd finally,Feel Goodis such a great example of LGBTQ+ representation on TV. Where do you hope to see queer TV stories go from here?I just hope we keep seeing characters that are allowed to be three-dimensional, flawed, and not defined by their sexuality any more than a straight character is defined by theirs. When I do get audition breakdowns for parts, which is so rare to be honest, it's still pretty gendered. I always get character descriptions where it's three words and one of them is always"gay." It would be great to have some other qualities. I think we're definitely headed in the right direction and that's happening more and more, particularly with authored shows. I think when people are allowed to write their own stories, then by default, you get all the other rich aspects to a character, not just their sexuality.

BuzzFeed:And your show is such a great example of that because, like you said, Mae is not defined by their identity.Totally! Mae is much more defined by addiction, trauma, and mania. [laughing] All those hilarious things.Be sure to watch Mae in Read more: BuzzFeed »

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