"Chelsea" faces identity crisis in second season

The successful Netflix show “Chelsea” aired the first episode of its second season on April 14 after a spring hiatus.

Hosted by the notoriously unequivocal comedian and writer Chelsea Handler, the show is the streaming service’s first talk show. It is also the first time Netflix is airing one episode at the time, instead of releasing the full season simultaneously—a habit that helped streaming services achieve success.

Handler took complete artistic control and created a series that is not only about interviewing celebrities who want to promote their work, but it also has an educational purpose.

The show has episodes dedicated to various topics such as visiting Russia and learning about the whole political primary process.

The idea of inviting different experts in fields from fashion and culture to politics and science is indeed novel and makes “Chelsea” an interesting watch for those who are interested in more than celebrity talk.

For the new season, Netflix allowed Handler to travel and explore more countries such as India and England. The team sees this idea as a prominent way to connect to her international audiences—the show is being streamed in 190 countries—as well as bring multi-cultural awareness to the United States in the middle of growing xenophobic sentiment.

Criticizing the current political situations is one of Handler’s most popular motifs on the show. With the current administration, it is expected that Handler, who is known for her sharp remarks, will make jokes about the current political situation in a great capacity.

The problem with the show thus far is that it has failed expectations. Handler’s former work on “Chelsea Lately” had a reputation of being a show where celebrities were hesitant of coming on due to the fear of being ridiculed and roasted. Handler’s infamous altercation with rapper T.I. over gun issues became one of the most memorable moments in television history.

This show is nowhere as witty, sharp and funny as anything Handler has done before. Her interactions with her guests became friendly and harmless. Handler was once a master of destructing a celebrity’s carefully polished image.

Now, it is almost as if she has become one of them, hanging out with Charlize Theron and flirting with Diego Luna. Although she constantly jokes about naked Instagram pictures and her uncontrollable consumption of alcohol and drugs, it has an artificial feeling of a carefully planned campaign, rather than sporadic confessions. For somebody who takes pride in not caring, Handler cares too much.

Having very mixed reviews and relatively low ratings, “Chelsea” is facing an identity crisis. The audience is expecting this talk show to stand out due to Handler’s signature humor and approach.

If the hostess does not find another direction for her style, season three will also suffer and will hinder Netflix from producing similar series in the future.