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Vanessa Bayer New Show I Love That For You (2022)

Vanessa Bayer was one of "Saturday Night Live's" freshest, most fascinating faces for seven years, her exuberant eyes and toothy grin wide enough to hide horrible secrets, playing characters who were always bubbly and effervescent on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Whether she's feeding Totino's Pizza Rolls to her "hungry guys" on "SNL" or confidently captioning her IG brunch photo "slopping down pig shit to appear self-deprecating on "I Think You Should Leave," it's a winning persona for sketch comedy.

Vanessa Bayer New Show I Love That For You (2022)

But the fundamental question is whether such absurdist intensity can be sustained for the course of a narrative comedy's runtime. Thankfully, Bayer's new Showtime series, "I Love That For You," recognises the benefits (and drawbacks) of that persona and capitalises on them for some surprising dramedic potential.

"I Love That For You" stars Bayer as Joanna, a sheltered Midwestern girl who survived a leukaemia diagnosis when she was a teenager, and is loosely based on her own childhood experience with leukaemia. The Special Value Network, a QVC-like home shopping network that promised her glitz, glamour, and beauty through tacky trinkets and smiling hosts (including Molly Shannon's Jackie Stilton, the network's famed face) on screen, was the only thing that kept her going while she was in the hospital undergoing gruelling cancer treatments. She's remained in her parents' protective shell as an adult, with no dating life and no job outside of hawking samples at her father's Costco. But then a miraculous opportunity presents itself when she aced an audition for SVN and landed a job as one of their hosts, selling a pencil on camera with the dexterity that would make Jordan Belfort proud.

I Love That For You New Show (2022)

The position is a dream come true for Joanna, but she quickly realises how out of her element she is when she arrives at SVN. As her frigid new employer Patricia (a brilliant Jenifer Lewis) drives into her early, the first and most crucial point is that she hardly understands herself, much less how she comes across to others. Jackie is the self-assured, attractive older housewife; Perry (Johnno Wilson) is the cheery Southern gay; Beth Ann (Ayden Mayeri) is the dolled-up "momfluencer" who pees with her tampon.

But who is Joanna, exactly? After all, they're not simply selling stuff; they're also selling themselves. And after her first day goes horribly wrong, Joanna claims that her cancer has returned out of desperation. Suddenly, she has a name: fearless cancer survivor—a moniker that grants her enormous power.

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