TV Review - Web Therapy: Season 1

Web Therapy was a Emmy-nominated, 2008 online series starring Lisa Kudrow that Showtime decided to pick up and turn into a half-hour sitcom. I missed it last year when Season 1 premiered. With the release of Season 2 this summer, I wanted to go back and catch up on that first season, which was made by the same people behind Kudrow's short-lived series The Comeback, which was a hilarious and fantastic show.

Web Therapy was created by Lisa Kudrow, Don Roos and Dan Bucatinsky. Don Roos is a filmmaker who has made a couple of movies starring Kudrow like The Opposite of Sex (1998), Happy Endings (2005) and The Other Woman (2009). Roos directs every episode here. Kudrow is the central performer, playing Fiona Wallice, a MBA graduate who has left the financial world to pursue a career in psychiatry. She's developed a new modality, which has her counseling her patients over the Internet but instead of hour-long periods, her sessions are only three minutes in length.

Fiona is married to a very successful, Philadelphia lawyer named Kip Wallice, played by six-time, Emmy nominee Victor Garber (Alias and Eli Stone). Fiona and Kip have been married for 17 years but things have not been happy. In fact, they've stopped having sex with each other. When they are together, they bicker. Usually, it's over money. Particularly, Fiona needs money to get her Web Therapy business up-and-running.

The first moments of the first episode are Fiona and Kip going back-and-forth at one another. It sets the tone and the modality of the show perfectly and is perhaps one of the funniest exchanges I've seen in a while. A lot about Kudrow's character is revealed here and at first I thought it was a variation of her character in The Comeback, which in some ways it is, but Fiona is a way more unlikeable person. Yet, she's unlikeable in a good way.

The entire show is filled with each character communicating with each other entirely via web cam and Apple's iChat. Fiona prefers and insists that all communication she has is through web cam, so every scene is a computer screen with two windows open or double boxes of video. One box is Fiona and the second is whomever she's talking. It's apparent that some improvisation is involved. Kudrow and various actors will riff off their screen partner.

Dan Bucatinsky who is a writer and producer on this show plays Jerome, one of Fiona's patients with a lot of anxieties and paranoias. Lily Tomlin reoccurs as Fiona's mother, a stuckup and disapproving woman. A slew of amazing guest stars rotate in and out, including Tim Bagley who plays Richard Pratt, a patient and former co-worker who develops feelings for Fiona and Bob Balaban who plays Ted Mitchell, an analyst at Fiona's former employer, Lachman Brothers.

Even more famous faces like Jane Lynch, Courteney Cox, Steven Weber and Alan Cumming pop up to provide some great adverserial comedy. Some stars who re-occur here and there get great platforms to shine like Jennifer Elise Cox who plays Gina, a secretary at Lachman Brothers and Maulik Pancholy who plays Kamal, a computer technician at Kip's law firm.

I enjoyed watching this show and this cast of actors, and it really is a show about the actors, their talent. It made me laugh out loud often, more often than the majority of sitcoms that I see. I love that it's not produced like most comedies. Its style is very unique. It's bold and innovative, even in its simplicity. It stands out, which makes it so much fun.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14.
Running Time: 30 mins.
Available on Showtime on Demand and DVD.


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