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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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ARE YOU THERE, CHELSEA? -- "Pilot" Episode 101 -- Pictured: (l-r) Chelsea Handler as Sloan, Laura Prepon as Chelsea -- Photo by: Jordin Althaus/NBC
Chelsea Handler stars as her own sister in vile new sitcom

PASADENA, Calif. - "Are You There, Chelsea" (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5) is a vile new sitcom based on the life of Chelsea Handler.

Laura Prepon ("That '70s Show") stars as Chelsea. Chelsea Handler stars as Chelsea's sister, Sloane. Which is, well, weird. Except to Handler.

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"It's a dream come true to have someone else portray me," Handler said. "Because I've been living this life for a long time, and I'm over myself. And it's a pleasure to play my sister because everything I've been accusing her of my whole life, I can now re-enact before her eyes.

"She's thrilled, surprisingly."

Handler won't be in every episode. Seven of the first 13, she said. But "Are You There, Chelsea" is a truly awful show, so the odds of it sticking around for 13 episodes are slim.

The fictional Chelsea is a hard-drinking, hard-living, promiscuous young woman. To call her cynical would be a massive understatement.

And while Handler is having fun playing her own sister, it's not much fun for viewers. When it's not offensive, it's mostly just painful.

Sloane, who's a judgmental Christian, is herself highly offended when Chelsea prays to vodka.

"Vodka is not the Lord," Sloane says.

"Are you sure?" Chelsea replies. "They're both invisible and have a hand in unexplained pregnancies."

Ba-dum-bum.

Handler isn't dumb. She knew better than to give up her other job, hosting "Chelsea Lately" on E!

"I don't have time to star on my own TV show. If I did, I would," she insisted. "Honestly don't have the time.

"I like my E! show. I like being under the radar."

Staying as far under the radar as possible on "Are You There, Chelsea" seems like a really good idea.



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