She's brassy! She's sassy! She speaks truth to power! She doesn't take any guff or kiss celebrity ass, because she's got nothing to lose (except limitless integrity)! And now she's signing a bajillion-dollar deal with a trendy, emerging media outlet to do talk shows, one-hour specials every five minutes, and become a face of the brand! What could go wrong?
I don't know, why don't we ask Kathy Griffin? (You go find her, I'll wait.) Same shtick, better hair, even more appealing to the gays (at one time), and all-around cottage industry who, starting in 2008, built basically the same deal with Bravo, a network that was kind of a big deal at the time. Seen her around lately? (Seen Bravo around lately? I hear they're making a new reality show called I Slept With A Celebrity, is how they're doing lately.)
Listen, Netflix makes no sense. Binge watching is a profit-motivated delivery system that maximizes buzz and long-tail profits by leveraging American laziness and lack of willpower. Nobody loses (except for our memory of the art we have just seen). Is it the future? Absolutely. But what does the Netflix model—streaming, binge-watching, everything on-demand—have to do with Chelsea Handler's whole thing?
"I can't wait to go home and watch a bunch of Chelsea Handler talking shit about celebrities that I don't even remember who they are," you'll be saying, from your Wall*E-style chair that is also a bed and also a Jazzy scooter. "Won't it be amazing to revisit memories I never formed about minor guest stars on forgotten Kardashian spinoffs? I'm so glad I got this Xbox One or other media-streaming device to watch Chelsea Handler with. I bet she really went to town, in the past which is my immediate future."
Think I'm overstating? I own every season of Laguna Beach and The Hills, on DVD. Some of the few physical media I have in my house. Have I watched them recently? Not I, Sober Jacob, although occasionally Drunk Jacob has left them lying around the place come morning. But no matter how I feel about those kids, one thing I have never said to myself, drunk or sober, is, "I would like to know what Chelsea Handler and/or Kathy Griffin think about Audrina Patridge. But not today, no—five years ago. That's the stuff. Fetch me a box of $3 Chuck and the season two D-List boxset. It's time for some classic fucking timeless comedy."
Chelsea, I like her. I like her books (less so her persona, especially after the torture chamber that is her talk show). But watching her make yet one more of Kathy Griffin's mistakes, in a parade of folly that has been going on for almost a decade now, is all a bit much. By all means, enjoy your time with this sexy, emerging market that's redefining disposability—that's your brand too, it's fine—but don't come crying to me when you're hosting the Tech Emmys and that Brad Wollack character won't even take your calls anymore. I've seen how this ends.