Tracey Ullman's State of the Union: Showtime

“Still, impersonation is a dying art and few do it as well as Ullman. To parody Huffington or Beckham or Dina Lohan (mother of Lindsay) may be a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, but it’s still pretty darn funny. Not the least because we don’t see it all that often any more. Yes, we’re meaner than we used to be, fueled with take-down websites and snarky entertainment columnists, but personal satire is a rare commodity these days.”

(Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times)

“Some of her celebrity impersonations are better than others. Her take on Tony Sirico, who played Paulie Walnuts in “The Sopranos,” is more impressive than amusing, and her version of the CNN anchor Campbell Brown falls flat. But at her best Ms. Ullman is high in the pantheon alongside Gilda Radner, Catherine O’Hara and Ms. Burnett. “State of the Union” is a fitting showcase for the woman of so many faces that nobody tries to keep count.”

(Alessandra Stanley, New York Times)

“State of the Union is solipsism masquerading as social satire. It is a crinkled map with no legible street names. It is a grating, drifting, pointless exercise in self-indulgence. It’s been more than 20 years since The Tracey Ullman Show premiered on Fox. Comedy has changed a great deal since then. Sadly, her approach has not.”

(Vinay Menon, Toronto Star)

“It’s tough to ignore how hard Ullman works here, and the direction by Troy Miller (who worked on HBO’s far superior absurdist comedy "Flight of the Conchords") is surprisingly seamless. But the whole is far less than the sum of its parts. Like Frank Caliendo’s "Frank TV," "State of the Union" is so set on showing off its star’s talent for mimicry that the overall point of view becomes muddled. It’s a mosaic of modern America, with its celebrity obsessions and rural quirks, but it’s a mosaic with pieces that don’t always fit together, when they’re even assembled at all.”

(Robert Philpot, Charlotte Observer)

“Like a tiny Walt Whitman, Ullman contains multitudes. Her impressions in this "day in the life of America" series run from immigrants to celebs (Nancy Pelosi, Arianna Huffington and, hilariously, The Sopranos’ Tony Sirico as an Inuit). A sharp if uneven Whitmanian sampler.”

(James Poniewozik, Time)

“But for all the show’s missteps, there’s always Ullman’s undeniable talent to entertain. Her parodies of women (e.g. Renee Zellweger, playing a movie character who suffers from "chronic narcissistic squint") generally succeed better than her men. But in episode four, Ullman’s wizened, tremulous Andy Rooney, gesturing in an unintentionally vulgar manner, is a scream.”

(Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“Showtime has scored some recent coups with its original programming, but this one might be the most impressive — having the foresight to bring back a talent like Ullman, whose act seems so familiar, at a point where she couldn’t be more timely or fresh.”

(Brian Lowry, Variety)

Check out a preview clip of Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union below, courtesy of Showtime.