You either love Chelsea or hate her but one thing is for sure – what you see is what you get. That remains true in her latest venture, Chelsea Does, now streaming on Netflix. In the four episode docu-series an unapologetically Chelsea Handler delves into topics of marriage, racism, drugs and technology.
Highlights include seeing Chelsea squirm in uncomfortable moments where she is in way over her head and can’t really manipulate the conversation – like anytime she is speaking to children or attempting computer programming. In “Marriage” Handler approaches an untapped source for relationship advice, a group of kids under 10. They assure her that she is not too old to get married although “sometimes you don’t get married if you have too much work to do.” These are the times where she is most vulnerable and human. That and when she is attempting to engage her 80-plus-year-old dad in a dialogue about marriage. As Handler openly shares she is 40 and wants to settle down with someone, he calmly spews out to her brother how Chelsea is simply “not marriage material.” OOF. You leave with a whole new level of sympathy for her surviving her dad.
Thankfully, levity resumes in “Silicon Valley” where she takes on the tycoons of tech to learn how to use her cell phone and pitch an idea for an app. The beta version of her app “Gotta Go” is completed and it actually works! She tests it when she wants to get out of a children’s computer programming class she is failing miserably at. Who hasn’t been there. Toodles, programming, let’s leave it to the kiddies.
Things get super intense when Chelsea takes on racism. She interviews Al Sharpton to get some ideas on how to break down barriers at an individual level. He offers some really sage ideas and super useful takeaways. Then Chelsea travels down south and interviews some pro-confederate groups who offer up their take on slavery, including the assertion that slaves were loved and cared for and didn’t have it so bad. Chelsea’s quick-witted sarcasm and blunt sassiness are extremely appreciated at this point.
In the end, traditional Chelsea Lately fans will be thrilled with the series. It’s not too far off comedically from her on-the-street stints done on her earlier show, while continuing the spirit of the panel discussion — only now it’s composed of her bffs and family. True documentary buffs and non-Chelsea fans might have a harder time taking the series seriously, but there are some real gems if you watch closely enough, and the levity Chelsea brings to touchy and sometimes upsetting topics is at times a gem in itself. She challenges us not to take ourselves too seriously at the end of the day, even when discussing super serious subjects. I urge everyone to take her up on the challenge.