Based on one of Chelsea Handler’s bestselling humor books, this new sitcom was originally called Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. Last summer, three actors were dropped from the series and it got a whole new name (which kinda kills the joke) — Are You There, Chelsea?. Handler, who has her own talk show, was supposedly too busy to play the title role in the sitcom but has a recurring role as her sister, Sloane.
Laura Prepon (who you may remember from That ’70s Show and October Road) plays Chelsea, an opinionated and unapologetic young woman who lives life to the fullest. She works as a cocktail waitress at a sports bar in New Jersey and is surrounded by an eclectic group of friends and members of her family. Others in the cast include Jake McDorman, Ali Wong, Mark Povinelli, Lauren Lapkus, and Lenny Clarke.
Is Are You There, Chelsea? worth a spot on your viewing schedule? Here’s what some of the critics have to say:
LA Times: “Prepon, who does a good job without ever making this seem like the place she ought to be, is at her best in her scenes with Handler — she becomes grounded, and rounded; you get a sense of people who have a history and, despite their barbed relationship, care about one another… Much of the rest of what I’ve seen settles for shooting off rounds of bad and better jokes at the Gatling-gun pace of three-camera comedy. But there is room to hope.”
USA Today: “News flash: Some women like to drink and have sex. A lot. There. You’ve absorbed everything Are You There, Chelsea? has to offer. Feel free to spend your evening elsewhere. Though next time NBC has that little on its corporate mind, let’s hope the network airs a PSA instead and spares us another punishingly awful sitcom.”
Variety: “Prepon is mildly appealing, and Chelsea’s continuous adventures with booze and one-night stands ought to have some resonance with a young audience living the dream, as it were. That said, it’s an awfully thin construct, and either too FX in its tawdriness or, alternately, not HBO enough in its execution. Even the title — as revised from Handler’s book Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea — becomes about as nonsensical as the rest of the show.”
NY Daily News: “Chelsea Handler may be one of the country’s most marketable brands, but that doesn’t mean the Chelsea persona automatically can be transposed onto a sitcom and have it come out entertaining and funny. That said, hard-core fans will doubtless love it, since the Chelsea of her mid-20s is portrayed faithfully with fine comic timing by Laura Prepon.”
Washington Post: “Perhaps this makes sense to the many who’ve read Are You There, Vodka?, but because I’m not among them (I chose Tina Fey’s Bossypants instead), it’s difficult to understand what tone the sitcom wishes to achieve: Only nasty? Mainly mean? Funny-ha-ha or funny-disturbed? Or are we all merely participating in a giant prank, in which a woman who makes sport of mocking the phony show-biz realm around her tries to see if she can actually worsen NBC’s prime-time schedule woes?”
SF Gate: “I’ll stick with the show for a while and hope for the best. Handler is brilliant, smart and funny. Perhaps even more important, she’s also determined, which may mean she’s willing to do what’s necessary to make her sitcom everything it deserves to be.”
What do you think? Is Chelsea worth watching? Do you think it’ll be a hit? Quickly cancelled?
Image courtesy NBC.