The answer to the implied question in the title of NBC's new series, "Are You There, Chelsea?," would be a yes.
Chelsea Handler's certainly there - it's just that she's distractingly styled as a brunette so she can portray her conservative sister, Sloane, and executive producing a series that thus far isn't trading in on her successful brand of humor.
"Are You There, Chelsea?" is based on Handler's popular books (with the title riffing off of "Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea"), and "That '70s Show's" Laura Prepon in the lead as a 20-something, unknown version of the now famous E! personality.
Wednesday night's pilot set us up with everything we'd need to know, not without help from a convenient voice-over:
Prepon's Chelsea is a lush of a sports bar waitress who can power slurp the worm out of a high-end tequila (which lands her in jail with a DUI); has an endless supply of terms to supplant "vagina" (such as "Pikachu"); and has taken a Marine to bed on Veteran's Day intending to be patriotic.
Viewers spent the first episode watching fictional Chelsea get bailed out of jail by a very irritated, very pregnant Sloane and become the roommate of the adorably weird Dee Dee (Lauren Lapkus), who is actually one of the more enjoyable characters.
Chelsea trades a few jokes with her dad, Melvin (Lenny Clarke), almost beds a ginger and bickers with her sister Sloane, only to hug and make up at her bedside after Sloane gives birth. (This is a sitcom, after all.)
The fictional, younger Chelsea Handler is pretty much exactly how you'd envision the actual Chelsea to behave. In theory, this isn't a bad idea. A half-hour comedy based on Chelsea Handler's bawdy humor could work, especially considering that while the comedian has her detractors, she has just as many fans. But what NBC has presented so far isn't quite the way to go about it.
Critics point to some problems with the pilot: For starters, having the real Chelsea Handler in the cast, but not playing herself. As HitFix notes, "Handler's on-camera presence just undercuts [Prepon]...any time Prepon is making any headway towards making the character her own, Handler turns to remind you what the real Chelsea looks and sounds like."
Secondly, it doesn't add anything new to the Chelsea Handler we've come to know - and if anything, "Are You There, Chelsea?" simply waters down that persona.
The New York Daily News critiques that while the writers use "the same jokes that have propelled Handler to four best-selling books and a thriving standup comedy career...on TV they need to add up to something more."
And lastly, a number of critics were unimpressed to the slap-dash presentation of the pilot. As the A.V. Club puts it, "the whole thing plays like somebody read one of Handler’s books and highlighted a bunch of stuff that just had to be in a TV show, without really considering if all of those things would work together in the same space."
Rounding out the cast is Jake McDorman as the potential love interest, bartender Rick (we learn in the pilot that they haven't hooked up because they both like to be on top), and fictional Chelsea's journalist-in-training friend Olivia (Ali Wong).
Did you catch the series premiere of "Are You There, Chelsea?" If so, what'd you think?
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I'm a HUGE Chelsea Handler fan. I watch Chelsea Lately every night, I'm a fan of her books, love her stand up, but this show is terrible!! NBC – drop Are You There, Chelsea? and bring back Community!!
wonder who told Chelsea Handler she could act??? she is funny as a stand up comedian and her late night show is pretty funny,but the whole acting is something she should not be doing at all. I watched couple of episodes and they were just ok not more. I don't like when people praise alcohol like their god.
and Whitney, oh my! that crappy show needs to be put down ASAP!!!!
I agree with the review from HitFix. I thought Laura Prepon was doing a great job portraying Handler until the real Chelsea stepped in. This is just the pilot, so I'm gonna stay tuned and see where they're going with this. Being a Chelsea Lately fan, I think they should have some occasional guest stars of her real life friends. I vote for Chuy and Jenny McCarthy to get on the show.
It sucked. Poor Laura. She is cool. But Chelsea's big arrogant mug in all the shots is arrogant, annoying and boring. Stick to your show and your books, honey.
The Chelsea I see is a modern day T V wonderment and I like it very much. She is different from all the "goody two shoes" on the tube. " Lately" can stay the way it is, but Are you there" needs some tweaking. I can only offer; make it more believable. Come on people find the formula and give this girl the super stardom she deserves. rose
If you read the book, "Are you there Vodka, It's Me Chelsea", then I believe you would find this show very funny. It seems to follow the book (written by Chelsea Handler) very closely. It's like reading a book and then watching the movie... you have more insight based on the character's thoughts than what is actually seen on screen. I believe that the cast could have better chemistry, but still found it extremely funny. I wish Chelsea was playing Chelsea! Will watch again :)
It was a very forced and unfunny attempt at edgy bad girl humor. It was like a train wreck except I could look away.
Handler and Prepon have pretty good chemistry – but it seemed like Handler had all the best lines. The girl who plays Prepon's BFF is totally flat. The preview looked funny, but the problem is they had to re-shoot the pilot after cast changes. If they can develop the characters a bit better, maybe the show will improve. Guess I'll just wait and see.
Only dumb women watch Chelsea Handler. That's why she's on E! and NBC, the places for dumb women.
I thought the show was funny,but it could have used a few more laughs , that would have made it better.
I'm not sure if I would go this far, and cleald it "abuse", but there is something troubling moral teaching children about religious mythology, as if they really were.
Althought I wanted the show to work I knew it wouldn't. Having Chelsea acting as Sloan really does take away from Prepon making this work - which I think she could. Dee Dee is the best part and I enjoyed every part of her on screen. If the show doesn't work I suggest a spin off just of her character. Also, enough with the "live audience". The shows that leave the laughten to the in-home viewing audience area always better...being prompted to laugh, and then no being able to, is really annoying.
I'm a huge fan of Chelsea Handler, her stand up and her talk show. Something just falls flat when there is scripting involved...inclufing After Lately which is terribly hit or miss.
Perhaps a series after her books on cable television where they can really do an unedited version and take these situations all the way through.
The show was awful. So is Whitney. NBC took Prime Suspect off the air and now subjecting us with "The Firm" what is wrong with this network?!
I agree, the show was awful. It didn't have to be. It was very crude. I like Laura Prepon and she was great on the '70's show. She could have been just as good on Chelsea if the writers had provided good material. They should forget about basing the show on a book and find good writers that can make this show a success. We certainly don't plan on watching it again. It was a waste of time.
Sorry... Meant to type 'laugh', not 'laught' in my previous comment. I'm very well edumacated, I swear! ;-)
Abusive use of the laught track made me change the channel after 10 minutes. I just couldn't take it.
Did not see it so I won't slam or praise it-but I can see the point of Chelsea overpowering Prepon-Chelsea is a blockbuster personality that can steal any scene, Maybe she will switch and have Laura play the sis and she can have herself back! Good luck, CH-
Probably the worst comedy TV show Ive seen in years. While I enjoy Whitney a decent amount (she is funny AND hot), Are you there Chelsea is horrible. She might be there, but I wont.
Didn't really did the Pilot episode and am a fan of Chelsea but not entirely of Laura. The role didn't suit her at all if I had to critique the first episode, think it would make more sense to have possibly Elizabeth Banks in there as she resembles Chelsea and definitely can pull of the sarcastic Chelsea side to a T. I'll watch for a couple more weeks though to see if it evolves but as of now it's definitely the bottom of my NBC shows
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I watched a bit, but recorded it. I don't know if it surplants Suburgatory on ABC thow. In reallity, I don't really watch anything on NBC anyway.
I'm a huge Chelsea fan. No offense to Laura, but it would be much better if Chelsea played herself. It just doesn't work the way they are doing it.
We call our dog "a$$ face" now.
My husband and I watch Chelsea Lately most nights and were looking forward to the Sitcom. We were very disappointed; for me nothing worked except the concept. Bad casting, over acting by the best friend, roomate, and Nugget. Writing was poor and tried to get everything about Chelsea in 30 minutes. Big, BIG mistake.
Do us a favor and DON'T try again. Sorry!
I think it would have been a lot better if she had just played herself but I did like it except for that horrible wig she had on – was it "bad" on purpose?????
Hated the show. Don't like Whitney either. It is getting so my husband and I just turn to Netflix and watch Roseanne or Cheers or The Wonder Years. We do like The Mentalist and Harry's Law...usually!
Listen people, I LOVE CH's books (read all four) and late night show (DVR), but this sitcom was HORRIBLE! I will give it a chance to find itself, but it could be sooo much better. I agree that the jokes came too fast with bad timing. Made me think they need different writers
I watched the show and I think that it was funny, I can't wait for the next show.
I only watched it because I like Chelsea Handler, and she is only a bit player. Whoever at NBC thought this show is funny should be fired!!! Give Chelsea Handler her own show if you are going to use her name. Shameful waste of Handler's bright talent! Makes you sick to watch it
Bring back 'Community'. a better, smarter, funnier show.
NOT FUNNY!! too bad. I don't think I will watch another eipisode. There's no saving this show. The cast doesn't seem to have chemistry at all. It's like a giant girl with everybody around her. I don't hate the giant girl, but she doesn't fit in the show.
Chelsa should play the lead actress. She is funny, Fromer Playboy Model. I hope to be that good someday!
Her facial expressions just make you laugh! Bravo Chelsa ! Have a shot for me!
Love the late night LAdy of Tlak show too!
We need more funny ladies!
Chelsea Handler is NOT an actress, she's a comedian, she should leave it at that. It was brutal watching her "act" – she sounded like she was reading of cue cards, I was embarrassed for her. The whole show stunk.
Not funny at all. After about 15 minutes, I turned to my girlfriend and asked her if she had laughed yet. She said, no this is really stupid. Turned it to the news.
Big Lenny Clark fan. Was embarressed for him in this show. He is a sream and this show was just not funny.
I am a big fan of this book and of Chelsea Handler but this show was just not funny to me. I honestly think it would have been better if Chelsea just played herself because she is hilarious, Prepon wasn't good acting as her in my opinion....
like the show but do think it would be better with out the real chelsea in it to remind u that prepn isnt her
Fan of Prepon... Never heard of Chelsea....Thought the show was funny and great to see Prepon back!
It would be a lot better if she put her dogs on! http://www.webvet.com/main/2012/01/10/chelsea-handlers-dog-struggling-arrival-new-puppy
I don't care much for Chelsea Handler, but I gave this show a shot last night. Pretty terrible, all but maybe one or tow jokes fell completely flat and I don't believe Prepon as Chelsea – too sweet and pretty to portray Chelsea. Traditional "filmed before a live studio audience" sitcoms are so hackneyed and dated at this point I don't know why they bother. Glad to see they at least moved the equally terrible "Whitney" to Wednesdays to separate it from the FAR superior single-camera shows on NBC Thursday nights. Incredible to believe this thing is likely to continue while "Community" is shelved... What can I say? Most people wouldn't know quality it if bit them in their collective ass...
You'd be better off watching repeats of The Big Bang Theory on TBS
I didn't watch, but based on the review and comments, it looks like Community should be back soon. Hooray!
I thought it was pretty funny. Definitely touches some controversial subjects, but its about Chelsea Handler, you should know what your in for. I hope it continues to deliver funny episodes!
What conceit – a whole sicom about yourself! Watched for a few minutes, then changed the channel. Don't find her as fascinating that she apparently finds herself.
The pilot was terrible.
It made the common mistake of throwing broad characters at the audience without
letting the audience get to know them as people. In the very first show, Chelsea
and her sister go back and forth about the pregnancy and surprise! A happy and
convenient resolution. The humor was crude and the voice over thing, ripped from
"Desperate Housewives", added nothing to the show. Laura Prepon has talent but
she is completed wasted, pun intended, here.
I love Chelsea, I have read all her her books & I even went to her "lies that Chelsea told me" tour. I was very excited about this show. I like Prepon too, but she didn't seem to 'fit' the Chelsea character. I also agree that they should have casted an unknown. I will watch it again to give it a chance, but I don't see it lasting...sorry Chelsea
Great one liners from Prepon, I didn't expect it to be so funny!
I too watched because I am a Chelsea fan wanted to like it. The whole laugh track "in front of a live audience" sitcom format is terrible! I think shows like the Office and Parks and Rec are more successful because they don't have that corny audience laughing and telling you...oh that is a joke...laugh at it. It needs some work.
I think the show would have been better if chelsea played chelsea, Prepon dows not have that sarcastic tone that chelsea has.
I never watch prime-time TV, but I was curious about the pilot via a promo that Lenny Clarke did on a local radio station.
The show sucked...jokes weren't funny, stupid laugh tracks. If I was associated in any way with that show, I would be embarassed to have even aired it.
I LOVED THE SHOW! I read the book & I watch Chelsea Lately every night so we can just say I am a bit of a fan. The show was fantastic and I laughed plenty of times. It's the first episode, and with the first episode it's supposed to reel you in to keep coming back for more and keep up the ratings. That's exactly what the Pilot did for me! I will be tuning into the show every wednesday until this season is over!!!
It was BAD – painful to watch – slow and boring. I am a Chelsea Handler fan, watch her show, have read all her books and this show will be cut soon. I only perked up when Chelsea was on screen but then that even began to get old. The crude stuff was interesting to note but I did not laugh, smile, nothing during the whole show. I can't believe this made it to air. I will never watch it again.
It was terrible. The jokes were bad, Chelsea is a crap actress, and the writing stunk. Bring back Community.
Eh..I agree it wasn't that funny but I wanted to like it so much because I love Laura and Chelsea. I only laughed at the very end where they were talking about Solane pooping while giving birth..."I did that for you." The whole show seemed forced.
This show was awful. I think Prepon is a good actress, but the writing on this show is terrible. I found none of it funny....making jokes about alcohol is NOT funny, there are struggling alcoholics out there. My husband and I like "Last Man Standing" – its the best new show on the air.
I think the show was very funny! And, as for ALL of you BLIND morons out there, Laura Prepon is GORGEOUS!! What a body! I agree though that Chelsea should have played herself and that Laura should have played Sloane. Nonetheless, Laura did a GREAT job playing Chelsea. She is both funny and beautiful! I will watch it as long as it remains on. I am SERIOUS.
The fact that Chelsea Handler is actually a character on the show confuses things. If that character was omitted, maybe it could have a chance. It is mediocre, but many shows have had slow starts, until the characters develop a little. (The Office, Parks and Recreation)
I thought it was funny and I'll definitely be watching next week.
Thank you. I'm going to guess that everyone who can't get into this show is because they are too old or too ridiculously religious. This is about what a woman does in her 20's, so if you're in your 40's or older, of course you're gunna find it repulsing.
Did you say ape?? Whitney has some substance, repeat some. Nothing with Chelsea so far. She is such a bad actress, if you want to call her that. The dry humor is ok to a narrow audience. I'll probably waste another 30 min next Wed nite and watch the 2nd episode. One last chance.
I like both actresses separately but this show just didn't do it for me. Probably go back to ABC for their great Wednesday lineup.
Prepon's delivery is very off putting, something about the way she delivers the lines takes all the funny out of them. Also Chelsea is portrayed as not just a potty mouth but as mean spiriited and not nice. People don't usually like to watch unpleasant characters. Her putdowns of redheads [Rita Hayworth anyone?] is just ridiculous and encourages bullying. I thought we were trying to stop all that! If being funny means making other people feel bad about themselves that's a pretty sad state of affairs.
I want That big ape to dooodoooo all over me.
"a 20 something version " really?? Laura Prepon is 32 years old
So dissapointing! Everything about the show was bad...was expecting so much more. Hope its yanked off the air soon. Whitney's show is much better. Chelsea should give up acting.
Did anyone mention that that Prepon gal is a big giant red headed ape? I bet she could beat up 5 or 6 guys at one time. She should be a lady wrassler. I bet her dumps are so big they put an elephant to shame. Big smelly doooodooooo piles. She is an ape.
They should have let Chelsea play herself and Laura Prepon play her sister. It was really stupid the way they did it.
I didnt watch it either. It is a terrible show. Just miserably bad. Laura Prepon is a big scary ape. She scares my children so we just took a pass on watching it. Truly a lame show.
I agree with Sean. I watched it for the first 10 mintutes and turned the channel. I could not watch another minute. The jokes were not funny, none of it was funny. I don't see this show going much further. Nice try though!
The show was total crap, yet it was a "nice try"?
I am a late fan of "That '70s Show" in re-runs...it's a favorite and can see why it was so hot in first run.
Not a fan of this new show of Prepon's; I will watch another but if it as flat as the premiere.
That will be it.
watched it. long time chelsea fan plus a prepon fan. I enjoyed it. Could have done without the overuse of the canned laughter but i am excited to see where it goes, glad to see chelsea was able to sneak a nugget in there with the colour blind barback. curious to see how it progresses
Completely agree. The show used WAY too much canned laughter. It was boring and characters were unbelievable....I won't be watching this lame show again..
I watched it with my wife and we shut it off after 10 minutes it was so bad! We really wanted to like it because we are fans of Chelsea but the show was so bad we had to change the channel. I can't see it making it through a whole season!
That is EXACTLY how I felt. I really wanted to like it but with the over the top roommate, the voice-overs, the recorded "live" audience, and awkward pauses I just couldn't do it. I've always liked Chelsea but this show is not worth watching...which is sad because it could have been good if it didn't try so hard to be bubbly and sarcastic at the same time.
It was pretty boring. No zombies. No ghost. Just a ugly drunk redheaded giant.
I am a fan of both Laura and Chelsea but this show was crap. It won't last long.
I agree...I love Chelsea Handler, but I did not find the show very funny. Maybe if she played herself it would have been different. I'm afraid it will not last very long...but I will continue to watch Chelsea Lately because it is a great show.
I remember a time when NBC actually had a decent lineup. That ended about fifteen years ago. This show is garbage, along with Whitney.
The show sucked. I did not crack a smile one time. Whitney is another loser show. Oh, and the new "Rob" with Rob Schneider and Cheech Marin is terrible too. I'm embarrassed for Cheech for even agreeing to do the show. I have a great sense of humor (love 2 1/2 men, Big Bang, Suburgatory, Community, Parks and Rec), but the 3 I mentioned in this post are not even close to being funny.
Laura Prepon is a big huge giant red headed ape. She is like a wrestler lady or something. Plus the show was lame.
@tim "Laura Prepon is a big huge giant red headed ape. She is like a wrestler lady or something. Plus the show was lame."
The show may well be lame, but I'm pretty sure you're g@y.
You suck. Laura Prepon is lovely and very talented.
I just hate people who talk about drinking like it's some cool exclusive thing. I got news for you- any loser can get served in a bar or liquor store, you're not special. Now copping crack on the other hand actually takes some knowledge & skill.
Me neither. I will never watch this show again. We need more wholesome shows that are good. Maybe like The Waltons. That was a nice show. Northern Exposure was good too.
How old are you frog? this show is obviously meant for the younger non-anal gen.
The show was Horribly Corney!! Gag Me will never watch again!
Did not care for it at all. I agree with the review above completely. And the whole praying to the vodka god. Um K.
I watched it because of Prepon;
I didn't like it either.
The character was as flat as a piece of paper.
I'd like to see Prepon in another vehicle; and, will give it another look.
i enjoyed chelsea's new show as a fan of her late night show[but not reading any of her books].i found the show very funny,
I never miss an episode of Chelsea Lately & kinda felt I was in the 'in' club when words like 'pikachu' came up. I also loved that she's got a 'little nugget' as an integral character in the bar!
I think the show (like most shows) needs a few episodes to gel & I personally hope that NBC is in dire enough shape that they can't afford to replace it something and it will get the time it needs to find some success. (The sky in my world in purple in case you're wondering...)
I am not a fan of her late show, but this show is amazing, i think people are basing it too much off the book and that's why it's getting horrible reviews. I, myself, didn' t know going in on this show that it was based off of her and I can;t get enough of it. It's a comedy, not a real life story of Chelsea Handler. Stop over thinking it and just start enjoying it for what it is.
No1 posting, there is yer answer !
I didnt watch it so I dont think it was too good. It seemed kind of boring to me.
if you didn't watch it what do you base your conclusions on?did you just pull them out of your a@#$ss ?
how do you say.. "I didn't watch it, but I don't think it was too good"..how could you know if you didn't watch it? You don't think its (going) to be good? I just don't understand.. I didn't even watch it so I have no opinion, I just think its funny how ignorant people are.. and your comment just sums up about 75% of the American population.. already having your own opinion about something you couldn't possibly know anything about.. how about not commenting on something unless you know what you're talking about.. lucky for you its just a stupid TV show and not something important.. I really don't know whats happened to common sense these days... people just say what they want and make opinions about people places things whatever without having any knowledge about whatever it is they're talking about..
I like Laura Prepon, but I don't buy her in this role. Not convincing at all. Maybe they should have gone with an unknown.
Are you there Chelsea, no worse than Two & a half men
i found it LOL
Too quick, too fast. Cut 1/3 of the many lines and it would have played better. Laura is very good but, lines come too fast. The room mate can tone down 20%, but is good and a fine idea. Do we really need the Dad? Laura's look in the last take is classic!!! No one can give it better!
I have to strongly agree with Alex–which I very rarely do (that is, agree with people because 75% of people genuinely are stupid). Alex is completely right in everything he/she says about Frogs. How about this, Frogs, I don't know you so I don't want to meet you. You seem kind of stupid to me...
See how I just applied your same logic–that is, drawing a conclusion on something before even knowing what it is/about? Now I'm done...
So they pull Community off schedule and put this on?
Prepon as person (or what we've seen of her) is nothing like Chandler, so to me the casting was completely wrong. Needed someone who is unconventional and brash to play the part - or a better actress who could pull it off.
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