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Post-"Friends," Lisa Kudrow has made a career out of playing unlikable, narcissistic women who are oblivious to anything that doesn't directly involve them. I guess everyone needs a specialty, and no one is better at mining the humor out of an awkward situation than the fearless Kudrow. Her talent seems to be to place her character in the most uncomfortable situation possible and then leave her there, suffering and unable to extricate herself with any dignity intact. Admittedly this type of humor is not for everyone, but some will know exactly what I mean. When Kudrow appeared in the cutting HBO series "The Comeback," viewers didn't know exactly what to make of it and it didn't survive past the first season. At the time, I chose not to watch it--but last year, I gave it another try and found it a brilliantly incisive satire. So I wasn't going to miss her Showtime series "Web Therapy." Originally created with her pal Dan Bucatinsky, the idea came to life as a number of short webisodes (and has aired for four seasons in that format). The Showtime series takes the same premise, with the same central character, and expands it into a full 30 minute program.

Kudrow plays Fiona Wallice, a psychotherapist experimenting with a new form of treatment. Instead of 50 minute traditional encounters, she's boiled down her sessions to three minute exchanges via the Internet. That way, she figures, they can cut out all the extraneous nonsense and quickly get to the heart of the matter. As expected, Kudrow is both dismissive and self-involved when dealing with both her patients and her loved ones. Each of the ten episodes within Season One has 3-4 computer interactions (few of the actors share actual scenes together in person). Some of these sequences are straightforward therapy, some involve her family, some involve her efforts to fund the new business, and some are more personal in nature. There is a continuing storyline throughout the season, but much of the material can stand alone.

Part of the show's hook is that it is improvisational in nature. The actors are coming to their roles without set scripts and that keeps things lively. Kudrow has backed herself with plenty of familiar faces including Bucatinsky (as an illicit romantic interest), Rashida Jones (his new fiancee), Victor Garber (Kudrow's husband), Lily Tomlin (her mother), Jennifer Elise Cox (a daffy co-conspirator) and guest stars like Jane Lynch, Courteney Cox, and Steven Weber. Everyone seems game to spar with Kudrow, but some are definitely more successful at the experiment than others. At times, I don't know that the expanded time format has added much to the show. The webisodes were so quick and lively that when something stalled, it was quickly over.

In truth, I'd classify "Web Therapy" as distinctly hit-or-miss. Some episodes, I laughed more at the outtakes than I did at the actual program. But when it hits, it really scores. Kudrow has fashioned Fiona Wallice into another terrific character, one that I definitely want to follow. It is coming back for a second season, so hopefully the kinks will get worked out a bit. "Web Therapy" may not be for everyone, but its painful brand of awkward humor may well be irresistible to some (myself included). A lot of promise, but not entirely cooked quite yet. KGHarris, 4/12.
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on September 21, 2012
This is one of the funniest shows out there. Lisa Kudrow shows her immense ability to play a character different from but in some ways like Phoebe. I love that the show is not scripted. It makes for some very funny interactions with the characters. Lily Tomlin as her mother is a riot!
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on February 3, 2013
I knew Lisa Kudrow could be funny. I just didn't know she could be THIS funny. This particular show just struck a chord with me, and I laughed out loud through every episode. It WAS therapy--in the truest sense. The humor is very dry. If you enjoy slapstick or silliness, you won't like it at all. But if you enjoy the humor that emerges from everyday life gone wrong (sometimes horribly wrong), this is just your kind of show. What's particularly remarkable is that most of it takes place in a cubicle--Lisa's online office. Now that takes some genius. Think Seinfeld or Larry David, but a little edgier. Truth be told, Lisa Kudrow can say more with her facial expressions alone than most so-called comics can say in a 10-minute routine. The guest stars are wonderful, too--Lily Tomlin (how she kept a straight face I'll never know) and Julia Louis Dreyfus stand out in my mind. Sheer unadulterated fun that for a short, blessed while, takes your mind off demonically depressing politics--and just about everything else. This is a refreshing departure from the usual let's-put-everyone-down kind of comedy that seems to have overtaken prime time television AND late-night shows. Makes a terrific gift for someone who could use a genuinely hearty laugh (yourself, perhaps). Unlike most sit-coms, this one is actually funny.
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on July 4, 2014
...but I don't typically recommend it to anyone. It's definitely not for everyone. Fiona Wallace is hilarious, and Lisa Kudrow plays her perfectly. That voice!!! And I love the guest stars.

Can't wait for season 3 to come out on DVD, and I'll be watching season 4 this year.
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on June 30, 2014
My husband saw an episode of Web Therapy on an airplane. He told me how good it is. So, I ordered both seasons and I have not been disappointed. So incredibly silly. And her acting is brilliant. It's very hard to act a part like hers that seems mostly normal, but a little "off". Her kooky character on "Friends" would have been much easier from an acting point of view. The subtle character flaws are very hard to act convincingly.

If you want belly laughs, this series probably isn't for you. But, if you like more subtle and silly humor; and enjoy watching a master
of acting act. You should enjoy this.
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VINE VOICEon November 11, 2013
Lisa Kudrow is an acquired taste. Her humor is definitely not for everyone. I think either you truly enjoy her or you don't. I was never really a "Friends" fan, but I loved Lisa in "The Comeback" and wanted more. Luckily, I stumbled upon this and enjoyed it. She always seems to play a brilliant narcissus and in this interesting series she climbs that mountain of ego mania. When I watched the first episode, I realized that she plays a therapist who insists on conducting a 3 minute therapy session for each client via webcam or Skype. I thought that this might get old pretty quickly, but I was fascinated and entertained that I had to watch another episode and then another. Soon I was hooked. Her character is so full of herself and so arrogant, she always manages to make the session about her. Her little nuances and facial expressions I couldn't get enough of. I found this highly entertaining. But as I said, Kudrow is an acquired taste and this main character is not likable, so some may love this, others might not. I personally loved this. Now I'm gonna watch Season 2.
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Another Amazon reviewer has really nailed this show by designating it as hit or miss. This is a scathing satire and Kudrow either really nails it or not. She hits more than she misses though and comedy is a tough gig so on balance, it is worth a viewer's time. She plays a web therapist, someone who is going to have a short internet web therapy experience with a patient and cure their problem with this short, intensive approach. She is meant to be unqualified right from the very first episode when we are given her very iffy qualifications as a therapist.

Part of the hit and miss nature comes from the fact she uses guest stars. If the guest star is great, she is great. So when Jane Lynch from GLEE, for example, guests, it is a great episode. There are episodes involving her mother, Lily Tomlin, which are also first rate.

I think this is worth a viewer's time to at least try it out.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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on September 29, 2013
Lisa Kudrow is a master -- the way she captures the utter narcissism of Fiona, and the obviously spontaneous improvs she does with her brilliant guests -- this is a treasure. I can't get enough of it.
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on September 9, 2012
This show is mainly improv, so I find it funnier than scripted. It has a wide range of special guests that make appearances. It's a very sarcastic show and can be dry also, but I find it works quite well with the format of "skype" calls.
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on January 9, 2013
...I didn't find this hit-or-miss at all. I laughed uproariously at every episode. Fiona's outrageous self-absorption is hilarious, but it's particularly fun to watch her get hoisted by her own petard. Jennifer Elise Cox (whom you might remember as Jan in the Brady Bunch movies) is a stand-out in her guest spots. Highly recommended.
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