Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Last Chance for Chelsea

Just in case you've got a couple hours to kill, today is your last chance to see the entire first season of Are You There, Chelsea? online (either on the official website or on Hulu). Starring That Seventies Show alumna Laura Prepon as the eponymous heroine, the show is based on the life and times of comedienne Chelsea Handler... who co-stars as her own older sister, Sloane.

On the right, Chelsea as Sloane. In the middle, Laura as Chelsea.
On the left, a baby as itself. Clear?

Anyone who is a fan of Chelsea Handler knows that she makes a living off being mad, bad, and dangerous to know. She draws heavily from her own life experience for her comedy - if Handler is to be believed, her life has been a booze-soaked sex romp since she reached her majority. Before Bridesmaids and Sex in the City made it OK, Handler was dishing out some of the finest frank/crude humor in the business. Her way of finding the "lines" and constantly crossing them could be construed as a subversive commentary on gender inequality among humorists... Alternatively, she just likes fart jokes.

Front row (left to right): Love Interest, Little Person Co-worker, Asian Sidekick, Daddy Issues
Back row (left to right): Neurotic Roommate, Alcoholic Sex-Crazed Protagonist

Either way, IMHO Handler's signature humor holds up well in the half-hour sitcom format. The characters are interesting and surprisingly sympathetic. The writing is fast-paced and funny, but pretty solid when it comes to plot and character development. You might think that a show by Chelsea Handler, about Chelsea Handler, and starring Chelsea Handler would revolve exclusively around the Chelsea character - and it does, to some extent. But it's obvious that Handler is comfortable sharing the spotlight with her extremely funny co-stars. My favorite by far is the sweet, innocent, and deeply strange character Dee Dee, played by adorkable Lauren Lapkus.

Pictured: D'awwwww...

My glowing recommendation aside, the reviews (and the ratings) have not been kind to Are You There, Chelsea? Fans of Handler seem to think that the show isn't edgy enough. Network Execs (acting as the voice of the voiceless "major demographics") probably think the show as Handler would write it is too edgy. The first season only lasted 12 episodes, and I think streaming them all online is an attempt to assess/raise interest in a show that seems to be circling the proverbial drain.  So give Chelsea a chance - and hope she returns for a second season. Or, at least, a second round.

1 comment:

Clovis said...

heh. "Mad, bad and dangerous to know." Major points to you for the Lord Byron reference, my friend. Well done, indeed.