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Chelsea Handler Returns in New Netflix Series

At the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, CA.

Marriage, Silicon Valley, racism, drugs. These are just some of the topics covered on Chelsea Handler’s new documentary series, “Chelsea Does.” On Jan. 23, the comedian and former host of “Chelsea Lately”, released her show on Netflix.Chelsea Does” follows Chelsea Handler as she explores the issues that surround controversial topics all while spewing jokes and making viewers laugh.

Syllabus week introduces the return of spring semester and this year, we had an even later start because of Winter Storm Jonas, which dumped two feet of snow on Baltimore. With five days of free time on my hands, my friend recommended that I watch “Chelsea Does.” I was apprehensive at first because I don’t think of myself as a Chelsea Handler fan. I never liked her particular style of humor, and when I watched “Chelsea Lately,” I never found myself laughing out loud. However, I was enthralled after watching “Chelsea Does.” I found it interesting as a perfect balance of comedy and serious documentary.

Fortune Live Media Photo, Courtesy of Flickr.
Fortune Live Media Photo, Courtesy of Flickr.

All four episodes open with Chelsea and three friends having dinner and chatting. She is then seen talking to professionals and taking trips to different places across the country. In the episode “Chelsea Does Marriage,” she talks to her father in her hometown of Livingston, N.J., and goes to the infamous Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas to see a matchmaker. She opens up about her past relationships and chats with one of her ex-boyfriends. Chelsea talks to her good friends, Jason Biggs and his wife Jenny, about how she wants to be married, but hasn’t found the right guy yet.

The next episode, “Chelsea Does Silicon Valley,” seemed less entertaining in hindsight compared to the others. In “Silicon Valley,” she travels to the famous tech mecca where she creates her very own app and chats with the CEO of Netflix. She also learns the proper way to pronounce Silicon Valley, and talks with her friends about how she doesn’t fully understand all the technology and social media that surrounds today’s society. Chelsea speaks with Khloé Kardashian about Instagram and how to take the perfect selfie, which was an episode highlight. But because I am not that interested in technology or Silicon Valley, this was my least favorite episode of the four.

“Chelsea Does Racism” doesn’t sound like something that could be made funny, however this episode is hilarious. The comedian does a good job of incorporating humor into the serious discussion of racism in America. She discusses how she will never apologize when people tell her she “crossed the line” when making a racially-driven joke. Chelsea talks to her friend, Al Sharpton, about how he perceives race relations in the U.S. today. She travels to the southern states and talks to residents on an old plantation about slavery. This episode is interesting, however, less entertaining, than Chelsea talking about getting married or doing drugs.

Out of the four episodes, I enjoyed “Chelsea Does Drugs” the most. It managed to be entertaining, funny and serious all at the same time. This episode captures Chelsea and her friends having a marijuana-infused dinner, followed by them traveling to Peru to take the drug Ayahuasca. Here, Chelsea opens up about her past drug use, and how people in her life have approached her about a drug abuse problem. She analyzes what mixing drugs causes people to do, and identified the main issues surrounding drug abuse . Chelsea also chats with Willie Nelson about marijuana, and smokes some of Nelson’s very own pot, which he calls “Willie’s Reserve.” The episode is funny, yet informative and shows the dangers of drug addiction.

After watching all four of these episodes, I have a very different outlook on Chelsea Handler. She seems authentic and vulnerable, while talking about her parents, her newfound desire to get married, her lack of tech knowledge, how she perceives racism and her admittedly close relationship with drugs and alcohol. She isn’t making bad jokes about celebrities — she is talking about the struggles that surround her own life.

Feature Image: Fortune Live Media Photo, Courtesy of Flickr URL

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Chelsea Handler Returns in New Netflix Series