Chelsea Handler explores issues making headlines in a style that’s both entertaining and hard-hitting

By Nina Steele 

“Chelsea Does” is a 2016, 4-part Netflix documentary series in which Chelsea Handler delves into issues that are hot topics today. The topics she chose to discuss are: marriage, Silicon Valley, racism and drugs. As you would expect, she does not hold back. On marriage, she reveals that she is open to the idea and even seeks the help of a matchmaking agency to find her Mr Right, with cringe inducing results. That her own father does not believe she is marriage material is among some of the most memorable parts of this episode. The subject of children is never too far. She may be open to the idea of getting married, but she still does not want kids.

The episode on Silicon Valley (she spent a week there) is as you would expect, full of references to the fact that our lives are now lived online. We are also reminded of the fact that the rise of celebrities with millions of social media followers has made them into major influencers and trendsetters, with the presence of one of the kardashian sisters. Chelsea tries to strike some balance by inviting a guest who represents those in society who are refusing to let technology take over their lives. In this case, it’s a mother who is refusing to let her teenage daughter have a mobile phone and says she will only allow her to own one when she turns 16, to the complete shock of the other guests.

The show on Silicon Valley is not all about letting viewers into the inner workings of the industry. It turns out that Chelsea has a pet project of her own, in the form of a dating app that allows users to make a quick exit, if their date turns out to be a disappointment. The app, which I have now found out, is up and running and has a 4.1 review score out of 5, is called ‘Gotta Go’.

As expected, the episode on racism proved to be the most challenging. Most of those interviewed, unless they were minorities, tiptoed around issues, for fear of saying anything that would land them in trouble. Chelsea of course is the exception. Some of the guests, who are minority rights activists, were highly critical of some of the jokes she made in the past about minorities. One complained that she is quicker to make jokes about Asians, while giving blacks an easy ride, because she knows she won’t get away with saying outrageous things about black people. Naturally, Chelsea disagreed, insisting that she treats all minorities equally. The most moving part of the show was when she revisited some of the most controversial shootings of black people in recent times. She sat down with family members of some of the victims and it makes for painful viewing.

The final episode is a discussion on drugs. Her views on the subject are definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, certainly not mine. Let’s just say that her attitude to drugs is as lax as they come. She has according to her own admission ‘Done a lot of drugs’. So much so that, at some stage in her life, when she was younger, some of her friends were so worried about her welfare, they thought of staging an intervention. She on the other hand, never thought she had a problem.

This is a great show overall. It stands out for its straightforwardness. Nothing is off limits.

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