‘Life & Beth’ Recap Before Watching Season 2

Life & Beth is a Hulu original that premiered in March 2022. The show was created and written by Amy Schumer, and it is the coming-of-age story of an adult who is struggling to deal with the memories of her mother and her teenage years. The first season of the show begins with Beth being an employee of a wine company, working alongside her boyfriend Matt. While Beth seems disconnected from her job and the relationship, not many notice this behavior, especially Matt, who is consumed by his ego. Matt happens to be the best employee at the company, and he uses this position to condescendingly converse with Beth about her life and her relationships outside of the office.


Beth and her sister Ann’s relationship with their mother, Jane, is complicated, and they believe their mother overcompensates for the love and attention she never gave them. Beth and Ann also had an estranged relationship with each other, and the subject of their conversations has always been their mother. Jane, on the other hand, was a typical mother trying to deal with her now-adult children and the mood swings they bring to the table. Jane was also in denial about the life she and her children had led. She refused to acknowledge her life post-separation from the father of the kids, which affected Beth and Ann deeply.

Beth and Ann’s lives change and go through a catharsis when Jane dies in a car accident, and the women must face the aftermath of the tragedy. Jane’s death worked like a catalyst as it allowed Beth to bring changes into her life, which included breaking up with Matt, accepting a promotion, and moving to her hometown, Long Island. Beth wanted to get away from the life that had become mundane in the city. Though Matt did not take the break well, Beth felt at peace after getting out of a relationship that stagnated her and never allowed her to grow as a person. Matt is made aware of her childhood traumas and injury during her mother’s funeral in Long Island.


The show captures the lives of women in their late thirties, working hard, slogging through the daily hustle, and looking for the right partner for themselves. Beth’s mother also went through a similar phase while she was raising two teenage girls. A significant part of the show is flashback sequences involving teen Beth, who dealt with heartbreak, bullying, and body shaming during her days in high school, but she had her best friend Liz by her side to protect her. Liz and Beth had a falling out eventually during their school days, and nothing was the same ever again.

Living on Long Island helped Beth come in touch with her sister Ann and her childhood friends Maya and Jen, who themselves are going through a midlife crisis. Beth’s single life is a fascinating tale for all of them, and they encourage her to begin dating actively. Beth meets John, a local farmer who works with her potential client on Long Island. Beth and John seem to be two distinctive people with varied opinions on how to lead their lives. John claims to be in a relationship, but his girlfriend is never introduced to Beth. They ended up sleeping with each other eventually, while being aware of the fact that their relationship may not have a future.


A lot of the show focuses on Beth’s healing journey as she tries to move on from the memories of her mother and father, Leonard, whom she had not met in years. Leonard was a typical erratic father who was physically present in their lives, while emotionally he was a distant parent. Both Jane and Leonard never understood the impact of their bad relationship, which had had a long-lasting traumatic impact on the girls. Ann, who was closer to her mother, eventually stopped keeping in touch with Jane. Beth suppressed the bad memories of her teenage years because she could never find an avenue or a person who could understand her pain.

Beth’s new life on Long Island is about coming to terms with many issues from her past, including running into Liz, who is now married and a mother. Beth’s mother had an affair with Liz’s father, which caused the falling out. Both could never be friends, and they parted ways awfully. Beth tries to have a normal conversation with Liz, but the scars left by their parents never heal, and the two initially decide not to resolve the matter. 


Beth also got in touch with Leonard, her father, who is struggling with memory issues. She eventually felt bad for his state as he gradually drifted away from his daughters. Leonard helped her get through a business deal for her company, and he advised her to follow her heart instead of sticking to a job just for the sake of it. Beth took her father’s advice and quit her job with the wine company, which had given her many perks that she was no longer interested in.

Beth’s bad health forces her to go through a detailed MRI scan. The entire 20-minute-long MRI procedure forces her to deal with the memories of her past. The memory of teenage Beth trying to justify her mother’s actions in breaking up Liz’s family. Beth finally came to terms with her mother’s mistakes. The time spent inside the MRI scanner was an eye-opener for Beth, as it allowed her to process her thoughts instead of suppressing them.


John and Beth were getting to know each other, but they had a terrible start as John came across as an inconsiderate man. Beth was not keen on taking the relationship further and wanted to end it on amicable terms. John, on the other hand, was unapologetically honest and slightly aware of Beth’s past and her childhood. John could see through her, and Beth felt she could be herself in his company.

The last episode of season one ends with Beth and Liz conversing over the incident that changed their lives forever. They cannot remain friends, though, but the icebreaker after almost a decade helped Beth come to terms with her past. Liz spoke in detail about the life she had led after the incident and forgave her father for his mistakes, as he is a good grandparent. Liz requests that Beth move on from the past and live life on her terms instead of being bogged down by memories. This piece of advice changes Beth, and she has a discussion with Anna about giving their mother a proper send-off. She informs Anna about her intention to end her relationship with John. Ann asks her to take a good look at herself before trying to find mistakes in him. Beth has also had many concerns, and they affected her previous relationships. Ann deems her a red flag instead of Beth’s habit of branding others as one. 


Beth and John converse after a long standoff. Beth showed her concern for John by saving his boat from drifting away and simultaneously confronting her fear of the water and boats because of an incident from her childhood. They reconcile and express their love for each other in a rather unusual fashion. Season one ended with Ann and Beth arranging a beautiful lunch to say a proper goodbye to their mother. The lunch had everyone, including Beth’s old boyfriend Matt and her current boyfriend John. She is content with the life her mother lived and cannot complain anymore. Hopefully, the next season will have Beth dealing with her life as a girlfriend and maintaining her relationship with her sister and friends while living on Long Island.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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