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SERIES PREMIERE REVIEW: Are You There, Chelsea? “Pilot” S1 E1

14 Jan

Right now, I am 0-3 with liking new comedy pilots.  This is show is #3.  Are You There, Chelsea stars Laura Prepon as Chelsea and Chelsea Handler as her sister Sophie.  Chelsea seems to be a very self-centered, drunk, slut.  Which can make for some pretty good comedy!   She works in a bar and it’s the story of her relationships with her family and friends and a young woman trying to find herself and her place in the world.

I actually think this show has promise, I just think it’s horribly miscast.  I know people are going to set my house on fire with my next comment, but, I don’t find Laura Prepon funny or attractive.  She is one actress I just don’t get.  I don’t understand all the fuss about her.  I always thought she was the weakest person in That 70s Show.  I didn’t hate her as Nikki Heat on Castle.  To be fair, I thought she was pretty good.  But she wasn’t good on October Road.  She just always seems to be overshadowed by the usually funnier and stronger cast surrounding her.  The same could be said here.   And I think the biggest disservice to Prepon is having Chelsea Handler in the cast.

Handler is flipping hysterical.  Her delivery is spot on and she is ridiculously witty.  But every time she is on-screen, I’m reminded how so far out of her league Prepon is, comedically.  All I keep thinking is “Gosh, I wish Handler was playing herself because this show would be much better.”   Handler outshines Prepon with every scene she is in.  I understand why Handler isn’t playing herself, because a younger actress is better suited for the way this show was constructed.  But then, cast someone else other than Handler so we aren’t reminded each time she’s on-screen how much stronger the show would be if she was the lead.  Or, if you want a sitcom with Handler, do a show appropriate to her age so you can feature her and have Prepon in a supporting role.  For me, that is going to be the show’s biggest down fall.

My favorites so far have been Olivia (Ali Wong) and Dee Dee (Lauren Lapkus.)  Although, I can see Dee Dee really working your nerves if she’s on too much.  But in the pilot, she was used the perfect amount.  I think she’s subtly hilarious as Chelsea and Olivia’s new roommate.  I have to say, I like the fact that even though she is SOOOOOOO different from Chelsea and Olivia and incredibly dorky, they were never mean to her or nasty.  You can see them doing things to mess with her or talk down to her and they never did.  They give her some rolls of the eyes, which is understandable, but they seem to get along well, at least for now.  I also liked the bartender, Rick (Jake McDorman.)   He seemed the most down to the earth, but also a lot of fun.  There is a slight history (romantically) with him and Chelsea that hasn’t gone anywhere yet, but you can see it has potential.   Then there is her dad (Lenny Clarke.)  He was slightly annoying but I guess he could be ok.  My jury is still out on him.

I’m going to give this show a little more time.  I hope I can get past the Prepon/Handler issue, because the show has potential to be really funny and solid Wednesday comedy, but I don’t know if I can.  Time will tell.   What did you think?

DVRs: 2

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