“Are You There, Chelsea” starts tonight on NBC as part of its new lineup of mid-season shows; it is based on the bestselling book, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea.
NBC describes the Chelsea character, which is based on the life of author Chelsea Handler, as a “sexually dynamic advanced drinker”; the show opens with Chelsea in jail for drunk driving. USA Today says, “Almost every joke that’s not about Chelsea’s desire to drink is about her desire to have sex.” While she may be a drunk, Chelsea does not smoke. That would violate one of Hollywood’s taboos.
The real-life Chelsea Handler is in the show, and although she is Jewish, she plays a Christian. Her character is described by various reviewers as the “judgy, super-Christian sister” [of Chelsea]; a “born-again Christian” who is “supposed to be a bit of a stiff”; and an “uptight born-again Christian.” Another woman plays Chelsea’s “goofy virgin roommate”; she is also described as “a reliably funny gangly naif.” In other words, Chelsea is the role model for the middle-schoolers who will watch the show. It starts at 8:30 p.m. ET.
There is no word on whether the Chelsea character will mimic everything about Chelsea Handler’s life. “I had an abortion when I was 16,” she told the New York Times. “Because that’s what I should have done. Otherwise I would now have a 20-year-old kid.” Yup.
What is particularly interesting about the show is that the Christian character does not appear in the book upon which the script is written; it was made up entirely by NBC. But, of course, Hollywood can’t pass up an opportunity to stick it to Christians, even if they have to innovate.
Contact Vernon Sanders, Exec. VP, NBC Entertainment Programming: