Amazon’s comedies vary in tone from “sad to devastating,” Amazon execs joked at TCA today, so it’s appropriate that the day’s first panel introduced the first-season comedy One Mississippi, a loosely autobiographical “traumedy” starring Tig Notaro as a character who returns to her Mississippi hometown from L.A. after her mother’s untimely death.
Notaro described the events in the series as “85% real” and said that the pilot crams together her life’s major traumas, which Notaro ticked off from her very bad year of 2012. “My mother died, I had cancer, I had an intestinal disease and couldn’t eat, I went through a breakup, I had pneumonia. The list goes on. “ She added that since so much of real life was packed into the pilot, subsequent episodes will contain more fictional material.
There was some debate about whether One Mississippi represents the first TV comedy with a lesbian lead character. Though everyone on the panel said that the lead character’s lesbianism is a “non-issue” in the storytelling, Notaro noted that her character might be the first lesbian lead that does not “come out” after the series begins. (Ellen DeGeneres’ character came out in 1997 on sitcom Ellen).
When a journalist pointed out that DeGeneres returned with another short-lived sitcom called The Ellen Show in which the lead character was openly gay from the start, Notaro replied, “Well, you yanked it all from me, sir,” then deadpanned, “I meant the first that is a huge hit.”
Notaro appeared onstage with cast member John Rothman, EP/writer Kate Robin and Nicole Holofcener, a pilot executive producer and series director.
One Mississippi premieres Sept. 9.