"I just thought it be would be funny to do a show about a person who comes back from a humiliating public experience and says, 'I'm not crazy,'" said exec producer and co-star Mike White.
White created the show with lead actress Laura Dern, who plays a woman trying to resume and make the best of her life after seeking treatment following a workplace meltdown. Suffice it to say, few are ready for her transformation.
"People put honesty on a pedestal, yet when you're inside of a character who's honest," Dern says, many will think "how unlikable that character that is.
"I see this series as very relatable. The aspiration is to try to be the best of ourselves. ... Mike's voice is a very earnest one about how we all long for it. The pitfalls are that she is very flawed."
The series almost inevitably will be a low-profile one for HBO, despite the presence of Dern and co-star Luke Wilson, but HBO is that rare place that can allow such a show to breathe, with Dern comparing the network to a "United Artists of the '70s."
"There's just so many antiheroes, that to make noise in the dysfunction land you (almost) have to have a serial killer as the star of your show," White added. "To take someone who's not in a heroic job but just living a regular life ... That was an exciting idea to me."