Amy Schumer’s ‘Life & Beth’ Dives Deeper for a Better Second Season

The adventures of Amy Schumer’s alter ego continues in the second season of “Life & Beth,” Schumer’s Hulu series inspired by her own life. Now settled back in her Long Island hometown, Beth and her partner John (Michael Cera) decide to marry and start a family, but memories from her less-than-idyllic childhood continue to haunt her as she prepares to become a mother herself.

Last season, Beth ditched her job in Manhattan and ended things with her self-absorbed boyfriend Matt (Kevin Kane) after the unexpected premature death of her mother, Jane (Laura Benanti). She moves back to Long Island, where she connects with old friends, gets closer with her sister Anne (Susannah Flood), and falls for John, a farmer on a local vineyard. In those first episodes, Anne was an underdeveloped character, but this year, the series dives in deeper into the sisters’ relationship, and flashbacks, in which the Beth and Anne are played by talented young actresses Violet Young and Lily Fisher, help the viewer understand how they were bonded by trauma following the divorce of Jane and their father, Leonard (Michael Rapaport). In the present day, with Jane gone and Leonard dealing with brain health issues, the sisters’ still have each other to lean on, or they should. Unfortunately for Beth, she has to deal with the reality that she and Anne do not have the kind of relationship she would like.

The emotional core of the series continues to be the relationship between Beth and John. After deciding to get married, the couple and their friends head to New Orleans for an impromptu wedding. The next day, John refuses to go with her to see a psychic (a hilarious Jennifer Coolidge), preferring to play basketball instead. He fails to see why she is so upset that they spent their first full day being married apart, and after seeing him interact with their friend’s autistic son, she finally realizes that he is most like on the spectrum himself. He gets an overdue diagnosis, but they still have growing pains in their marriage to work through, especially after Beth becomes pregnant.

One drawback to “Life & Beth” is the sheer number of supporting characters. Maya (Yamaneika Saunders), Beth’s longtime friend who owns a spa and is not afraid to call her out on some of her crap, is a solid character, but Jen (Arielle Siegel) and Jess (Sas Goldberg), two unhappy married ladies going through tough times, could have easily been one character. There is not enough time to dive deep into most of the peripheral characters, and a few subplots get dropped without any resolution.

“Life & Beth” season two is sure to resonate with many viewers of a similar age as Schumer/Beth, especially women. Beth strives to improve herself, and part of that process is realizing that while you can change yourself, you cannot control those around you, and for her, that includes Anne. After a massive blow up, at a haunted mansion of all places, Anne decides she needs space from the sibling she once idolized. Naturally, this is hard for Beth to accept as she prepares to build her own family, but she respects Anne’s space. But perhaps her biggest realization is that her parents were merely people, and while Leonard is not always “there” mentally, it is admirable how she makes an effort to still include him in her life, especially after flashbacks reveal some of his selfish actions following his and Jane’s divorce.

Life & Beth” season 2 begins streaming Feb. 16 on Hulu.