Stephen Merchant is Delightfully Awkward in ‘Hello Ladies’
Hello Ladies may take place in Los Angeles and air on an American channel, HBO, but it is a pretty standard modern British sitcom. Every character is an awkward person, who doesn’t know how to function in normal settings. In this case, Stuart Pritchard (Stephen Merchant) leads his group of awkward male friends around LA nightlife as an attempt to pick up women. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t have the outcome they wanted.
Stuart’s best friend is Wade, whose wife recently left him. Wade somehow manages to walk into doors that don’t exist. This is a man who introduces himself to women in a bar as Wade as in Roe vs. Wade. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he then goes on to remind the women- he and Stuart barely know, yet want to have sex with- that it was the court case about abortion. Stuart digs the hole deeper by saying, “Let’s not talk about abortion before we have to.” That line pretty much sums up Hello Ladies‘ premise in a blunter fashion: men looking for cheap meaningless sex. You could easily think of Stuart as a gawky unsuccessful Joey Tribbiani.
Poor Jessica, Stuart’s tenant, has to put up with his antics all the time. When she’s rehearsing with the actors of her web series, Stuart will interrupt them and hit on the attractive women. The women humor him, but Stuart takes everything they say at face value. He’s desperate and will rearrange his plans at the whims of people who never want to see him again, which is how he ended up taking Wade, who had his heart set on bowling, to a trendy nightclub on his first wedding anniversary without his wife.
It’s a mystery why Stuart puts up with his friends and why they put up with him. His friends seem oblivious to the fact that they are not his priority and he ignores the fact that they always ruin his fun. Stuart only went to the trendy club because he was chasing a girl named Courtney, not because he thought Wade would enjoy it. Wade invites his co-worker Kives, who Stuart hates, just because Kives wanted to come.
After Kives is introduced, the phrase “dating, mating, or masturbating” becomes a theme. Kives started it when he posed the question to Stuart. Stuart runs with it in the bar and asks Courtney. It was clever the first time, even though Kives is obnoxious. When Stuart says it, it’s sad. Stuart is probably jealous that Kives has more luck with women, despite being in a wheelchair.
Stuart’s also not very bright. He offers to buy drinks for Courtney and her friends, thinking there are only three of them. Once he offers to buy them drinks, Stuart finds himself buying drinks for a group of approximately 30 people. He never says, “I’m sorry, but I thought there were only three of you.” Instead, he gets his phone out and starts writing down requests. Stuart spends 800 dollars in alcohol and still doesn’t score. He ends up falling on the table with all the alcohol, which exposes the condom in his shirt pocket.
While Hello Ladies definitely not for everyone, it is good. However, there is no way the premise can sustain anything more than 20 episodes. The show needs to be run as a limited series. Anything more than 20 episodes would make the show unwatchable. Hopefully, HBO does lose sight of the fact that the show is quintessentially a Britcom and doesn’t beat it to death.
Posted on September 30, 2013, in Cable, Comedy, HBO, Sitcoms and tagged Christine Woods, hbo, hello ladies, jessica, Kevin Weisman, Nate Torrence, stephen merchant, stewart pritchard, wade. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.