bill bodkin reviews Chelsea Handler’s return to mainstream television …
If you find Chelsea Handler to be an absolute laugh riot, if you tune into her talk show regularly, if you own her books, seen her perform live or follow her on Twitter, you’re really going to dig her new sitcom Are You There, Chelsea?
If you do not fall into any of these categories or if you feel that her “get drunk, get laid” routine has gotten long in the tooth or if you feel as one writer on our staff does “that she has absolutely no talent,” then you’ll be in the same boat as me. You’ll think Are You There, Chelsea? is a pitifully unfunny show. It’s so bad that it makes Whitney look like Seinfeld in its prime.
The main problem with the show is its odd premise. Laura Prepon plays Chelsea Handler and Chelsea Handler plays her older sister Sloane. It’s just weird to wrap your head around. Regardless, Prepon, who has proven comedic chops with her performance on That 70s Show, seems to be trying to impersonate Handler, not portray a character. She tries way too hard to mimic Handler’s deadpan delivery, and honestly I don’t buy the attractive and graceful Prepon as the hard drinking, down-and-dirty Handler of days past.
As Handler’s sister, Handler herself is decent, at least in the pilot. She’s able to deliver a convincing performance as a tired, super-pregnant, strictly religious and straight-laced woman from New Jersey. However, seeing her performances in clips from later in the season, it seems she abandons all these character traits and basically becomes the Chelsea Handler we’ve come to know, except a sober and cranky version of herself.
In the end, Are You There, Chelsea? is a poorly produced and sloppily written sitcom that became stale and repetitive by the second commercial break of its first episode.