In the premiere episode, titled “I Don’t Want to Turn into my Mother,” Emet’s (Sarayu Blue) father sees her from behind and confuses her for her mother (Madhur Jaffrey). Later in the episode, Emet’s husband (Paul Adelstein) sees her mother from behind and thinks it’s Emet. This story was inspired by Batra’s relationship with her fqather.
“My dad started calling me by my mom’s name, and I just remember being like, ‘What is happening right now? I guess I’ve turned that corner,'” Batra said at Monday’s Paley Fall TV Preview event for the show. “There’s something like that in each episode, where it may have happened to me in a similar way that I draw from because it’s just so fun when you can connect with it and make it personal.”
Batra is also a working mother, an aspect of Emet’s character that the show will highlight throughout the series. Emet is constantly trying to balance her work life in a male-dominated video game company with her family life back at home, and she doesn’t always succeed.
“We’re expected to be there. We’re expected to have a certain role in our child’s lives that many dads are forgiven if they miss,” Batra said. “Having it all seems to be a pressure that women put on themselves but also the world puts on us a little bit. That somehow nothing’s going to give. I know guys that are juggling drug addictions and doing jobs, and no one ever goes ‘Well, how do you do it all?'”
Jaffrey said her experience raising a family was even more difficult than Emet’s because she didn’t have anyone to watch her kids when she went to work.
“I was the supermom that was doing everything,” Jaffrey said. “And in a way [Emet] is also trying to be the supermom — handle a business and handle the children — but she needs her mom’s help, which I never had.”
Blue also deeply related to the script and believes the audience will, too.
“The comedy is really specific. The things I get to do are things that women feel like in life,” Blue said. “That comes from a team of women who are brainstorming about their own lives.”
“I Feel Bad” premieres Sept. 19 on NBC.