Talk show host, comedian and professional hot mess Chelsea Handler is at it again, this time with an intriguing new comedy based on her books, as well as her entertaining life.
“Are You There, Chelsea?” premiered on NBC last Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 8:30 p.m., following fellow freshman comedy “Whitney.”
Despite the show’s title, Handler is actually a very minimal part of the program. The character of party girl Chelsea is played by Laura Prepon, who is best known for her role as Donna on “That ‘70s Show.”
Instead, Handler plays Prepon’s incredibly boring, put-together pregnant sister. So why isn’t Handler playing herself? Why is Handler, a veteran comedian, not playing a funny character? Beats me.
Handler’s character, so far at least, is a blatant waste of talent. In the coming weeks, she may come around, but right now her character is pretty bland. Still, Handler’s comedic touch can be seen throughout the writing of the show.
Title-character Chelsea sounds exactly like Handler with her almost Ke$ha-like party attitude. It’s only fitting that her character works at a bar and is battling a driving under the influence charge.
Unfortunately, witty one-liners can only go so far. A strong supporting cast is just as important as the stars, and “Are You There, Chelsea?” has some absolutely abysmal support.
Chelsea’s best friend, and fellow waitress at the bar, makes high school plays look like Broadway. Every facet of her performance is so incredibly contrived, as if she is reading off a teleprompter.
During the premiere episode, Chelsea also moves in with a new roommate who takes quirky to a whole other level. Her roommate, Dee Dee, is beyond socially awkward, which does make for some entertaining moments.
However, as a whole, her character just comes across rather artificial. Sure, she’s good for a few laughs, but her character doesn’t seem real or relatable.
The show’s fate is definitely still up in the air, but not without potential. The lead character is great, and the writing is intermittently strong, but the show needs some serious fine-tuning if it wants to stay alive past its first season.