A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this comedy series is based on edgy late-night comedian Chelsea Handler's best-selling autobiographical book. It's milder than her signature late-night show but still includes some of her typical humor, from strong language ("bitch," "ass") to crude sexual references ("boner, "slut"). There's also lots of drinking and references to intoxicated behavior, including a DUI. Despite all of this, the show highlights some positive themes, like the importance of a loving family relationship and close friendships.
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What's the story?
Based on Chelsea Handler's best-selling book, Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea... the sitcom ARE YOU THERE, CHELSEA? stars Laura Prepon as Chelsea Newman, a wild twentysomething barmaid who decides to turn her life around after being arrested for a DUI. Despite her best efforts to calm her life down, things sometimes get a little crazy thanks to her friend/boss, Rick (Jake McDorman), and co-worker Todd (Mark Povinelli). Friend Ali Wong (Olivia) and new roommate Dee Dee (Lauren Lapkus) are pretty eccentric, too. But her close relationship with her family, which consists of her loving but colorful dad (Lenny Clarke) and her ultra-religious but sarcastic sister Sloane (Handler), reminds Chelsea what's important in life.
Is it any good?
This loosely autobiographical series calls attention to some of Handler's own experiences during her wild 20s by highlighting endless sexual encounters and lots of drinking. But it also creates a strong family that's relentless in their support of each other, despite their differences in lifestyles and belief systems.
Are You There, Chelsea? is funny -- and definitely a milder version of the comedian's traditional fare -- but its humorous approach to alcohol use, especially, makes it inappropriate for most teen viewers. Nonetheless, the series has enough sharp wit and crass humor to make it feel genuine, and even non-Handler fans (as long as they're old enough to handle it) may find it entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way women are portrayed in TV comedies. Does Are You There, Chelsea? do anything different with its female leads? Are any stereotypes challenged or reinforced in the show?
What's the show's attitude toward alcohol use? Do you think it's OK to make light of getting a DUI or binge drinking? What are the real-life consequences of drinking lots of alcohol regularly?
What kind of changes have to be made in order to make a book into a successful show or movie? Who makes these changes? Have any of your favorite books been adapted to TV or film?
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