Chelsea Handler’s NETFLIX Talk Show Made Me Get Up and Vacuum!


Over the past 20+ years I’ve watched, analyzed and programmed countless new talk shows.  Most of them failed.  That’s because launching a successful talk show takes more than just a familiar face.  It’s takes a strong point of view, a clear identity and talent with whom the audience connects.  Chelsea Handler’s new talk show for NETFLIX is an interesting experiment.  The streaming service known for popular and acclaimed scripted series has not just dipped its toe into the talk show genre, but jumped in head first.

I like Chelsea Handler. I enjoyed her show on E!  I especially enjoyed her when she covered topics in which she was particularly interested or invested.  By the end of her run on E! Handler was honest about not wanting to talk about the Kardashians and Justin Bieber anymore.  Her show on NETFLIX affords her the freedom to more clearly define her voice, not just as a comedian but as citizen of the world.

So, having experienced what I can honestly say are some of the worst talk show launches ever, I chose not to watch the first week’s batch of episodes that NETFLIX made available for streaming.  Instead I started with week 2.  I immediately had the same problem with Chelsea that I had on her E! talk show, her monologue.  Although this really doesn’t count as a traditional monologue since she she only covered one topic and quickly moved on to her guest, Christina Aguilera.  The interview portion was fine, but Chelsea lost me when the segment moved into Aguilera giving her voice lessons. Next, was an interview with openly gay soccer star Robbie Rogers and some sports critic.  Talking about why soccer isn’t as popular in America as it is in the rest of the world is not in Handler’s wheelhouse and that’s not unexpected.  As Handler tried to keep the segment interesting by making fun of the critic, I decided I should vacuum my living room.  When I turned to the tv, there was pretaped segment of Chelsea learning how to figure skate on, so I decided I would clean the stairs.

Then, as I turned the vacuum off, I look up at the tv and Chelsea was back with Rogers and the sports critic talking about Rogers’ experience coming out as a major sports star and the reception of homosexual athletes in the world of sports.  It was a topic in which she was invested.  She asked great questions. It was an interesting conversation.  Even the critic was interesting.  I was seeing Handler in her wheelhouse, in her voice.

As anyone with NETFLIX knows, after an episode of a show ends, it will automatically take you to another episode.  This one was a conversation with comedian Wanda Sykes, where they discussed why Sykes would perform in North Carolina despite their recent transphobic bathroom law.  They then segued into the presidential election. It was a compelling discussion about why they like Hilary Clinton, but also why they weren’t necessarily excited by her.  They were smart and funny. Not a surprise.  During the segment, Chelsea introduced President Obama’s former speechwriter Jon Favreau (not the actor/director) and the three continued an compelling conversation about their election with Favreau sharing two insightful and funny stories about President Obama.

Chelsea Handler will produce at least 90 episodes of her show for NETFLIX.  This gives her the time to find her footing and the right voice for the show.  It will be interesting to see what happens with this show.  Unlike the scripted shows on NETFLIX this isn’t a show that I would binge in one sitting.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of buzz about it, and I’ve seen no promotion.  Honestly, I forgot the show had debuted until I saw it on the home screen when I went to check out some viewing options on the streaming service.  Chelsea Handler has 5.8 million Twitter followers,so maybe that’s all the promotion she needs.  I follow her and can’t remember seeing one tweet from her about the show.  She should put her assistant on that, stat!

Have you watched Chelsea on NETFLIX?  Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

PODCAST: “THE GOOD WIFE” FINALE SPOILER: IT’S NOT A ROMCOM!!

 

 

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Was “THE GOOD WIFE” Series Finale inspired by “THE SOPRANOS”?


When a beloved and critically acclaimed series comes to an end viewers look for closure to the stories of the characters they’ve followed for years. Shows like BREAKING BAD and SIX FEET UNDER provided very fitting, closed ended finales while THE SOPRANOS series finale left viewers wondering if their cable had gone out during the last scene and they had missed the conclusion to the mob family saga. In fact, series creator David Chase purposely wrote an open ended and quite ambiguous ending for the show leaving some fans calling it one of the most disappointing g series finales in tv history. But it’s still one of the most talked about series finales to this day. 

On May 8the CBS will air the final installment of THE GOOD WIFE and in a recent interview with Variety series star Julianna Margulies said that after filming the final scene she told co-star Christine Baranski, with whom she shared the final scene, that fans will either love it or hate it and there will be no in between. It seems Alicia’s story isn’t tied up neatly and will viewers wondering “what’s next?” for the often put upon legal eagle. 

Will you be ok if THE GOOD WIFE series finale leaves you wanting more? 

Click here for the full story in Variety. 

Emmy winning actress Doris Roberts dies at 90

  
Having met Doris Roberts I can say she was a delightful woman. Her work on ST. ELSEWHERE, REMINGTON STEEL, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND and countless other shows was always stellar. She reunited with her RAYMOND costar Patricia Heaton on THE MIDDLE in recent years as a foil for the harried mom played by Heaton. Throughout her career she was awarded 5 EMMY AWARDS. 
Click here for more on the story from TMZ. 

Are You Ready to Say Goodbye to “The Good Wife”?

  
After tonight’s incredible episode of “THE GOOD WIFE” there are only three episodes left until the May 8th series finale. 

Tonight’s episode left us with a lot of questions:  will Peter go to jail? What does Jason want from Alicia? Will there be more repercussions from Alicia finding out that her phone calls are being monitored by the NSA? What has Cary been up to since he walked away from the law firm? Will Josh Charles really return as Will Gardner?

So many questions with so few episodes left. At a Q&A at the Tribeca Film Festival, Variety wasn’t able to get many spoilers from “GOOD WIFE” creators Michelle and Robert King, but series star Julianna Margulies did say call the script for the series finale “brilliant.”

Are you ready to say goodbye to the best drama on broadcast tv?

Click here for the full story in Variety. 

Would You Buy the AMAZON PRIME stand alone video service?

  
According to Variety Amazon will offer its video it’s video service as a separate offering for a $9 monthly fee. This is for licensed tv shows and AMAZON PRIME ORIGINALS only and doesn’t include the free shipping for products. 

Do you see any value in buying the video service separately? Would you buy it or does the free shipping and access to video content under the existing AMAZON PRIME for $99 make more sense?  

Let me know what you think in the comments. Here’s the link to the Variety article. 

“THE CARMICHAEL SHOW” IS A SITCOM WITH SOMETHING TO SAY!

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When “THE CARMICHAEL SHOW” premiered last year, I wasn’t particularly impressed.  Comedian Jerrod Carmichael stars in the sitcom which is based on his relationship with his family. Although the cast boasts Loretta Devine and David Alan Grier as the family matriarch and patriarch, the series felt ill-defined.  I think a big part of that was Carmichael himself.  While he’s a funny comedian, he’s not the strongest actor.  The show uses the family as a microcosm of America to discuss the issues of the day.  The comedy comes from the fact that the family rarely agrees on any given issue.  While I didn’t take offense in any of the topics discussed during the first season, the show hadn’t found its rhythm. Aside from that, the directors couldn’t find it in themselves to tell the incredible Loretta Devine to stop screaming in every scene.

But something unusual happened in season two. The show found its voice, it’s focus and all the players fell comfortably into their characters.  The directing got better and Miss Devine is still incredibly funny but much quieter.  Set in Charlotte, NC the Carmichael family sees each other all the time.  It doesn’t feel unnatural. I never question why they’re all together.  This is not a situation comedy in the traditional sense. The characters are naturally in each other’s orbits and as happens in real life, they discuss the issues families, friends and communities are discussing everyday. The difference is this show is able to inject humor into the discussions and as a viewer you don’t feel like you’re being hit over the head with a “very special episode.”  This season the show has covered gentrification, xenophobia, and Bill Cosby.  The latter of which was a thoughtful exploration of if it’s possible to separate one’s art from their personal behavior.  The show never tries to give a conclusive answer to any of the questions posed, but allows each character to have a strong point of view, while also taking pause to sometimes question their point of view, knowing that sometimes things are not so absolute.

The show boasts a talented cast and while Jerrod Carmichael is still the weaker link among them, he’s gotten better.  He’s a smart guy and his passion for the material comes across on screen. If the show goes forward, I’m confident he’ll get better.  Let’s not forget that Will Smith was such a weak actor during the early seasons of “FRESH PRINCE” that he can be seen mouthing the dialogue of his co-stars so that he remembers his cues.

It’s also great to see a family of color having these thoughtful, topical conversations on television. They could be any family in America.

You can easily join “THE CARMICHAEL SHOW” in season 2, without having seen the first season. I’ve added the show to my DVR and have found myself laughing loudly during a number of the episodes.  It’s definitely worth checking out.

Check out a clip from the gentrification episode below.