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TV Review: NBC's 'Are You There, Chelsea?'

NBC premieres its new sitcom Are You There, Chelsea? on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET, starring Laura Prepon as a fictionalized version of E! host and comedian Chelsea Handler, who appears on the show as a supporting character. The following are reviews from TV critics around the Web, compiled by B&C.

“The show’s just not as funny as Chelsea Handler is when she’s playing Chelsea Handler. Maybe if Prepon’s character weren’t named Chelsea and maybe if Handler herself weren’t in the frame to remind you of what real comic delivery can be, we’d accept Prepon more than we do, her acting limitations notwithstanding.” –David Wiegand, The San Francisco Chronicle

“The problem is the jokes. They’re the same jokes that have propelled Handler to four best-selling books and a thriving standup comedy career, but on TV they need to add up to something more.” –David Hinckley, New York Daily News

“Much of the rest of what I’ve seen settles for shooting off rounds of bad and better jokes at the Gatling-gun pace of three-camera comedy. But there is room to hope.” –Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times

“And as for the fictionalized Chelsea, she occupies that irritating middle ground where she’s not likable enough to be watchable when she’s just existing, and yet neutered enough that her bad behavior isn’t actually all that funny…Better the writers should have gone the route of pure black comedy where the show feels no more need to apologize for her than Chelsea herself does.” –Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

“The point is to pulverize outdated notions of how a woman - even a funny woman - should talk about herself and others. In theory, perhaps even feminist theory, that’s not such a bad thing. But that all has nothing to do with the sad, half-baked result that is Are You There, Chelsea?, which is built from an astonishing number of cliches, given the real Handler’s claim to unapologetically hard-edged fare.” –Hank Stuever, The Washington Post