LOS ANGELES — The new NBC comedy “I Feel Bad,” from executive producer Amy Poehler, revolves around Emet Kamala-Sweetzer (Sarayu Blue), a mom whose Indian parents want her to show more respect to the traditions of her family heritage while she’s trying to be a modern woman. It’s not going perfectly, and that makes her feel bad.

The diversity of the cast is a selling point, but Poehler stresses the show should be looked at as having a much larger appeal.

“This is a lens in which to tell a working-woman story that I haven’t quite seen before. This idea that whenever we’re doing it all, there’s about two or three things on that list that we feel like we’re giving 10 percent to,” Poehler says. “What’s so fun about the show is it takes a very human and real look at parenting, and the characters that Sarayu and Paul (Adelstein) play are a real team. What they share is the knowledge that they know very little about what they’re doing.

“They’re well aware that they’re in over their heads a lot of time. I love watching that messiness, because I think that too often in television, especially women in television, are supposed to have all the answers, but we never get to see them. They never have to show their work. And so there’s a lot of that in the show which is great. Big mistakes and big swings.”

Executive producer Aseem Batra adds that “I Feel Bad” is a comedy that reflects the way families in 2018 look. The bottom line to cast and crew is you can have a family that looks like this without it being a thing. That’s the story they are trying to tell.

Proof that the series was not created to promote one culture is the role Blue landed originally was not written specifically to be played by someone from India.

“This role was just a role,” says Blue. “When I was auditioning with people, it was every ethnicity. And they were just looking for the right person. And when they then cast me in it, obviously we got South Asian parents, and made it more specific in that sense.

“But this was not specifically written to be this style. This just ended up being that because that’s how we got here, which is really cool.”

The tweaking to build around Blue’s Indian heritage has made her happy. The Wisconsin native recalls watching a lot of family comedies when she was younger but never saw anyone who looked like her. The dream she had was she would one day be on one of those family comedies and now that it has happened, she feels good.

Blue laughs and says getting to this point has been a long road, as she’s been offered a lot of roles as doctors over the years. That includes playing Dr. Sydney Napur in David E. Kelley’s TNT medical drama “Monday Mornings.” She also has appeared on “No Tomorrow,” “The Real O’Neals,” “Sons of Tucson,” “Wisdom of the Crowd,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Franklin & Bash” and “Harry’s Law.”

“When I first started out, the roles I would be sent out to audition for where very specific,” Blue says. “Then it started branching out to roles of any ethnicity. I could press my agents to send me out for other roles, but whether the roles up in that direction is the difficult part. This is very new territory to be able to read for a lead role like this.”

Adelstein, who plays the father counterpart to Blue’s character, likes that the show uses the perspective of a working mom to show the kind of anxieties that aren’t specific to any nationality. He calls it a “modern anxiety” that makes them feel bad.

The series gives Adelstein the opportunity to work in a comedy arena, not the typical acting playground for him. His most recent work has included the series “Chance,” “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” and “Prison Break.” He spent six seasons as Dr. Cooper Freedman on “Private Practice.”

NBC is trying to give “I Feel Bad,” the only original comedy the network will launch as part of the fall season, the best chance to attract viewers. The network has picked up the discarded “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” but it has been around for five years. To make sure the new series gets as many eyes as possible for the first episode, it will debut Wednesday following the season finale of “America’s Got Talent.” The series will launch in its normal time slot at 9:30 p.m./8:30 p.m. Central Oct. 4.

 

‘I FEEL BAD’

10 p.m./9 p.m. Central Wednesday, NBC