TV Review: ‘One Mississippi’

One Mississippi is a dark humored Amazon TV series written and executive-produced by Tig Notaro. Other executive producers include Diablo Cody (writer of Juno, Jennifer’s Body, United States of Tara, etc.) and Louis C.K.

Tig plays Tig, a radio DJ who shares short yet deeply reflective snippets of her life on her radio show. These personal reflections, usually of her childhood, are almost like flashbacks that chime in from time to time amidst the sense of loss and confusion she presently suffers from the sudden death of her mother. Added to this frustration is the need to understand the seemingly indifferent attitudes of her step-dad and brother, and the secrets of her deceased mother, Caroline.

The script of One Mississippi is poignant, hilarious, and honest. There’s a subtlety to the story that resembles everyday life: of death, illness, family, love, etc. Its humor is elicited by the quiet depiction of the uncomfortableness and awkwardness of life. Caroline’s death and Tig’s cancer aren’t made into exaggerated events in One Mississippi—they’re simply a part of life, and we watch endearingly as the characters fumble around to cope with such realities.

The show is of course not simply comedic and endearing all around; there is an aspect to it that makes us cringe at its candor, or maybe even at its resonation with our own lives. Tig witnesses a slow assisted suicide of her mother in a hospital scene—a setting that is perhaps painfully familiar to some of us. When Caroline’s long death is finally completed, Tig doesn’t know what to do next. She becomes a lost child. A nurse tells her she can leave but Tig, disoriented and helpless, wanders for a while and shyly grabs the nearest nurse. “Excuse me, I don’t know how to leave,” she whispers to her. No one gets to do a rehearsal for such things in life, one is simply thrown on stage with no instructions or warning, and that’s what One Mississippi aims to convey.

The writing in the show is so good that watching it feels like reading a beautiful memoir. When Tig’s girlfriend tells her, “We need to get some sleep, tomorrow is a big day,” referring to the tasks that follow the sort of things like a family’s death, Tig rebuts, “Tomorrow is actually a very small day because my mom is not in it. Everyday from now on will be smaller, and I’m smaller.” She says this is such a childlike manner that it’s difficult not to laugh at. It’s almost an understatement of death, and it’s exactly this innocent and vulnerable tone of the show that makes it so incredibly raw.

Check out the interview with the cast here

Launching September 9 on Amazon.

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