Expecting Amy provides a genuinely candid look into Amy Schumer’s professional and personal lives at a very significant time, and it made even me, not a fan by any means, warm to her considerably.
I rather famously can’t stand Amy Schumer, but I didn’t let that put me off HBO Max’s three-part documentary series Expecting Amy, and if you feel the same way about her as I did then you shouldn’t let it put you off either. And what I’ve come to realize about Schumer, who is tracked here across the country while performing stand-up shows, prepping for a Netflix special, getting arrested and vomiting virtually everywhere, all while pregnant, is that I suddenly like her a lot more than I once did.
That might well change as early as tomorrow, but my takeaway from Expecting Amy was that I’d been allowed an intimate look into someone’s life that proved them to be a lot more hard-working and vulnerable than I’d been led to believe. I enjoyed that process, and I imagine the people who really liked Amy Schumer anyway will get even more out of this series than I did.
That intimacy comes from a kind of off-the-cuff vibe that all three episodes foster, and increasingly an openness that is rare of any celebrity, let alone a pregnant woman. It matters to the show because these things matter to Schumer, who has made no secret of her femininity and sexuality throughout her comedy career. That comedy career, and the process of an evolving stand-up set, are interwoven here with candid snippets of what it’s like to be pregnant, and especially what it’s like to be pregnant while evolving a stand-up set. That obvious narrative throughline, as the baby develops along with the material, makes for an oddly touching sense of escalation.
Expecting Amy feels less micromanaged than other, ostensibly tell-all celebrity profiles, and it feels more authentic as a result. It’s anti-glam in a way; the rawness of Schumer’s material applied to the whole production. It incorporates Schumer’s relationship with her husband and her life on the road, as well as a life that’s growing quickly inside her – that last one is the most crucial since it’s the one that so many women who aren’t famous comedians will recognize as one they’ve lived. It helps to break apart the glossy notion of celebrity, too; watch Amy Schumer vomit enough, and you’ll realize that no amount of money or fame in the world can halt biology. Such is how it should be.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.