Laura Dengrove looks at the premiere episode of the Showtime series in anticipation of tonight’s new episode.
Therapy is now in session and Lisa Kudrow is back in full swing.
Showtime’s Web Therapy revolves around web therapist Fiona Wallice, played by the hilarious Lisa Kudrow, and her wacky tactics for solving people’s problems over the internet. She dishes out advice into a webcam for her clueless patients who change from week to week in star-studded cameos. (Last week, her clients included Steve Carrell, Megan Mullally, and Alan Cumming.) The advice she gives isn’t always the best — which usually results in everything coming back to Fiona and her own personal problems.
Lisa Kudrow’s acting in the episode is impressive. She possesses a rare amount of skill in the comedy genre and in this show it is no exception. In every scene she displays a commanding presence for her character that makes the viewer believe she is really Fiona Wallice. She is sharp and on point with her jokes and shows how ‘tough’ it is to be a web therapist in the world.
The show has some great moments in its starting episode, but it also appears to drag and become a bit stale in other moments. The conversation between Fiona and Austen Clarke, played by Alan Cumming, is hilarious. The way Clarke and his pregnant girlfriend, Gina, interact is a comical high point in the episode. Gina is unable to process what Clarke is saying because he isn’t speaking English, but in fact he just has a Scottish accent. What he says to her is hysterical especially his phrase’s about his sex life with Gina. The remarks are snarky and the timing is perfect.
The other gem in the episode is the conversation between Fiona and the music composer, Franny Marshall. Marshall, played by the very funny Megan Mullally, is spewing a list of insults towards Fiona, each in a sing-songy way. The songs she has created make comedic magic as each song visibly shocks Fiona. Her reactions, facial and verbal, toward them and her immediate protests for them to stop make the sketch all the funnier. To some, the sketch could have gotten old, but the comedy chemistry between Mullally and Kudrow was evident and it kept the sketch going in a positive and funny way.
Now even the best of shows have their moments of weakness and Web Therapy certainly has them. The first sketch, which featured Steve Carrell, was a bit odd to say the least. Steve Carrell in any role, whether it’s on the big screen or TV, you’d assume his performance would be hilarious and interesting to watch. Sadly this that wasn’t the case. This was mostly due to the lack of chemistry between Kudrow and Carrell, which was extremely surprising. To be fair, the segment had a few bright points but the scene became a one trick pony and the jokes became unfunny and uncomfortable fast. Sure, it appeared as though Steve was having a blast being there, but this reviewer can’t say the same for herself.
The other disappointing scene was between Fiona and the younger secretary at a rival web therapy office. The scene was chock full of used up jokes that have appeared in many comedies over the years. The continuous ‘please hold’ joke fell flat and provided little to no laughs for this critic. However, the biggest complaint has to be about the stale scenario in which a young person is blind to someone older than them. Sure, this could work if it was written well, but alas, this was not the case. In fact this segment was very familiar to the first sketch with Carrell. It started off with a lot of potential, a good laugh here and there, but then with a snap, it went downhill in a non-comedic way.
All in all, the second season premiere of Web Therapy was good. The acting between Kudrow and friends was superb as usual, but some of the jokes were hit and miss. The hits did hit hard, but the misses dragged the show in some areas. The season has great potential and the list of guest stars is promising — in particular Kudrow’s Friends co-star Matt LeBlanc. Hopefully, the show can improve on some of the jokes for the show cannot just depend on the acting and a few good scenes. The season is off to a good start and hopefully it will just get better from here.