**** Are You There, Chelsea? can be watched on NBC WCMH Channel 4 for Time Warner and Insight Communications customers ****
A Minute of the show and I want to cry. This show is just… bad. And I mean that as, as a comedy, it is failing on every level to make me laugh. What is even more aggravating is that the writing feels like it is staging the actors, some who are actors I have a great deal of respect, for hamming it up for the show. Like ‘hey, it’s a sitcom! We’re hamming it up!’. (I’m looking at YOU, Laura Prepon and Ali Wong)
Note: Let me just clear up that I did SUFFER through to the end of the episode. Not just one minute. But I wish I did. Anyhoo, I digress. Continuing along…
Part of the problem is that the book that the show is based after is something that can’t really be dumbed down for network tv, but lo-behold, it is being dumbed down. And further more, it’s in sitcom form.
The problem, I feel, at least, with sitcoms, is that we want, as an audience, a sitcom that doesn’t wink at the audience. For any problems I fault 2 Broke Girls with, (which, you can read elsewhere I am not alone with feeling by the way) that show is still entertaining.
There is always a difference between a sitcom joke and a joke that was performed within a sitcom. One is cheesy, hammed up and not that funny, and the other, is a well-timed and crafted joke that makes the audience find humor in what flashed before their eyes. Are You There, Chelsea feels like the former, not the latter, and while it is only the pilot episode, I’m not in any rush to find out. Sometimes the actors can transcend the shit that is being hurled at them. While Prepon tries earnestly, and heck, even the original writer (Chelsea Handler who plays the overbearing sister Sloane) who is acting in the show tries her best with the material given but, everyone just comes up short. The only actor thus far in the show that has, in this reviewer’s opinion, come out unscathed is Lenny Clarke’s take as Melvin, Sloane and Chelsea’s father. Especially his delivery of the response to the crude and silly ‘I’ll give you a Handie’ line was actually the only redeeming thing in the show.
So it begs the question, how can you fix it?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I’d say rip it from the air and let it die, and let HBO, or AMC or some other network, who can make ‘A comedy about a 20-something woman based loosely on the outrageous number one best-selling book by Chelsea Handler’ actually outrageous. And Here’s a hint: don’t do it as a sitcom. Hell, make it a single-camera comedy. Don’t try to dumb it down.
And I would like to make a plea to those who think I’m just poo-pooing on the entire show, again, I like the actors, and heck, even Handler tries her best, and makes me want to see her in a better written project, but there is jjust not enough here to be salvageable in a show that I’d want to continue to watch.
But what do YOU think, examiners?
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