If you want to see something hilarious, watch this Tig Notaro stool bit on Conan. This is the comedian’s brand of comedy at its best.
But Amazon’s One Mississippi is not quite so hilarious, even if it has unintentionally funny parts. Even though Amazon is calling it a “dark comedy,” with names like Louis C.K. and Diablo Cody behind it, the pilot episode is mostly tragic. It’s a semi-autobiographical look at Tig returning home to be with her mother as she dies, all while dealing with her own health issues.
As Tig drives through her hometown, she imagines seeing her mother, youthful and full of life, in places like along the side of the road. She haunts her even when she’s still alive. Through much of the episode, Tig struggles to listen to the last voicemail her mother had ever left her.
The most crucial scene of the episode is when Tig, her brother Remy (Noah Harpster), and stepfather Bill (John Rothman) go to visit the mother in the hospital. After a few hours, Bill and Remy can’t handle waiting for her to die, so they go home to feed the cat. Meanwhile, Tig stays back to be by her mother’s side, even though she’s afraid to even use the bathroom, for fear she’ll miss her last breath.
But when her mother finally does take her last breath, Tig doesn’t know what to do.
“Should I just go?” she asks the nurse.
And then the nurse bursts into hysterical laughter and tells her of course she can’t just leave. The next scene is Tig wheeling her dead mother out of the hospital on a gurney, waving goodbye to everyone who took care of her.
But then the scene returns to Tig asking, “Should I just go?” revealing the previous sequence to be one of just a reverie.
The nurse says soberly, “Oh, yes, honey. You can go. We’ll take care of it.”
This particular scene evokes how one’s mind might race during intense moments like death (do you really just leave when your mother dies?) while also hitting all of the right emotional notes.
One criticism for the show is its molasses-like pace. But that also might be its strength. Death takes time to consume, and this series has potential to make light of it while tugging at some real issues. Notaro fans and nonfans alike should pull up a stool and check it out.
The One Mississippi pilot is now available on Amazon’s website for free viewing.