The trailer for Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, the sitcom based on Chelsea Handler’s memoir, did not immediately grab me, if only because a combination of treating DUIs as if they’re hilarious, mocking butch lesbians, and really unsubtle parodies of evangelical Christians is not precisely in my comedic wheelhouse:
I get that Bridesmaids has opened the doors for lady-raunch comedy, and I’m glad for that, think it’s important, even. But there’s a difference between capturing how conversations and relationships between adult women actually work, and claiming that you’re putting something authentic on-screen just because your character behaves badly. There’s collecting a bunch of obnoxious mannerisms, sticking them in a mini-skirt and calling them a character, and creating a character who can be off-putting but is fully realized, whose less attractive characteristics stem from experience rather than a bumbling id.
All of that said, this Cathy Horyn profile of Handler is a nice explication of the ways in which the comedian herself is the latter rather than the former, someone who is consistently tough and impatient. And the news that Roseanne Barr is in talks to join the show as the main character’s aunt is a nice bit of comic history continuity (also, it suggests that obnoxiousness is a family trait on the show). Handler’s coming in to her sitcom with a lot more industry power than Barr did at the beginning of Roseanne, and I’ll be curious to see what she does with the fact that NBC probably needs her as Bob Greenblatt tries to turn the network around more than Handler needs NBC.