Tonight’s the premiere of NBC’s newest comedy, Are You There, Chelsea? Yep, it’s the one featuring That 70s Show‘s Laura Prepon, the one based on Chelsea Handler’s book — and yes, the show that used to have the word “vodka” on the title. So where did it go?
“Well, not everyone likes vodka,” Handler said during the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles over the weekend, as originally reported by Deadline. “Not everyone is into alcohol as much as I am. So I think the network wanted people to [embrace] the show whether or not they had as big a drinking problem as I do.”
All right, then. But the drink features a lot on the original book, and the show will do the same — it starts, after all, with Chelsea (Prepon’s character, mind) looking for a new apartment after losing her driving license to a DUI. And more drinks off set: “A present that she got me when I first got the role was, like, a case of Belvedere Vodka,” Prepon said in an interview on Live with Kelly. “She was like, ‘It will help you get into character.'”
Well, Handler herself has pulled away from drinking since. “Vodka is a part of my life … but to function as I do, I can’t be a mess,” she told Us Weekly. “I feel a big responsibility to not only everyone who watches the show, but to everyone who is on the show and all the employees I have.”
Let’s talk about other things, then. Why a sitcom about Handler? “I think it’s really cool to see a woman who is so open about these experiences, and so open about, like, ‘Yeah, that happened, and I’m gonna make fun of myself,'” Prepon said on Live.
Why can’t Chelsea play herself? “She always says that, ‘I’m sick of being myself,'” Prepon said, “‘You do it … I’ve already been through all this. Now you do it.'”
“It’s Laura’s show, ultimately,” Handler added during the TCA tour. “I’d love to be in it as often as possible, but I seriously don’t have the time. I like my E! show [Chelsea Lately]. I like being under the radar.”
Well, then. Visual aids! Two clips from tonight’s premiere, then. First, an introduction to Chelsea, her roommate Olivia (Ali Wong), and their bubbly, Bachelor-watching new roommate Dee Dee (Lauren Lapkus):
Next, the real Chelsea (playing the pretend Chelsea’s conservative sister Sloane) and the pretend Chelsea (it gets confusing at the beginning, I know) bond over the former’s new baby:
And finally, photos of Chelsea Handler at the time of the stories in the book Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. Yep, there’s the vodka.
Are You There, Chelsea? premieres tonight from 8:30pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)