Chelsea Does is an amazingly funny and thought provoking documentary. Chelsea Handler, who is known for her controversial comedy, hosts this documentary. If you are into her sense of humor, or have read any of her books and enjoyed them, you will love this documentary. It has four parts: marrige (love), Silicon Valley (tech), racism, and of course, drugs. These Episodes are a depart from the light hearted humor of her talk show. She still jokes around but it’s more to move the conversation along.
To begin the documentary, Handler focuses on Marriage. I expected her to make a mockery of the tradition and custom, yet it seems like she was actually serious.. She talks to a lot of married couples, ministers, and people who don’t have traditional marriages. I think that she does this brilliantly. She makes you feel awkward and embarrassed for her. She makes you cringe every time she says a joke, and then you laugh about it when you see people’s reactions. This awkward, embarrassing cringing is what makes it so funny. She really does educate you on what marriage is, and the many varieties. She keeps it real though. When she visits the BDSM marriage, she literally says that she is judging them. In society today, we are scrutinized for saying that we judge others, but she speaks her mind and is honest. It’s better to be honest and open about your uncomfortability with a subject than to pretend that everything is fine.
The second episode is about technology and how she can’t work it. I personally find it hilarious because I read her books, and I laugh every time she loses her mind over tech not working. In this episode, you just get a more visual representation of her life. She explores what Netflix is, and what streaming is, and she explores how apps are built, funded, and pitched. She brings up an interesting topic that comes with technology: how it affects our brains. She talks about how our attention span and ability to focus has dramatically decreased when technology was introduced. She talks about her own personal problems and how technology has either helped her or hurt her. It is a good documentary because it provides a lot of humor and keeps you engaged, while bringing up the positives and negatives of technology. She brings out what needs to change in our life and culture.
The third is about tacism. Like any good documentary, it exposes the bigotry of many people. She talks to a lot of people, all with different backgrounds. It is quite weird to see this divide between what white people say and what everyone else says. She literally goes to a plantation in the south; they give her a tour and say that slaves made everything you see. She asks them why white people are representing what the slaves did. The response is an awkward pause proceeding with, “Well, we have one African-American who works here.” It is another awkward moment with an important point.. It appears every time a white person even slightly romanticizes the past. The entire documentary is emotional and intellectual and alarming. In my opinion it is one of the most fascinating racial documentaries I have seen. It tells the story of oppression of many races: Black, Jewish people, Native Americans, Asians, and Arabs.
The last episode was about drugs. It focused on Ayahuasca though. Ayahuasca is a drug found in Peru that has been used for spiritual purposes for hundreds of years. It clears you out, and many say that it can cure a variety of addictions. It did touch on most everything that drugs come with, but it really focused on addiction. It focused on how addiction affects people’s lives and how Handler herself handles criticisms that she is an addict. I really liked how deep and personal it got when she was taking the ayahuasca. As I stated before, I read her books, and she described memories from her childhood in the books, and seeing how she has changed from writing books to doing this documentary is quite astounding. During her time on her talk show, she made shallow jokes, and everything was done lightheartedly. With this new documentary, we see a new side of Handler, one that has the desire to find out the problems of our world and see if we can fix them.
During this entire documentary, Chelsea Handler showed us the four topics that she is most passionate about and what is relevant to her. She was not writing this from a comedic point of view, but rather a truly personal and informational one. I felt like I learned a lot from those four hours. The series develops its excellence by showing both sides of an argument and then showing Handler decide what her options are. It was refreshing to see an actual person change so much just throughout a series. It is one of the best things I’ve watched this year.
Check out the trailer here