We don’t know about you, but we’ve been waiting with bated breath for Chelsea Handler’s new Netflix docuseries, Chelsea Does, since, oh, we don’t know, August 26 2014: the day the last episode of her talk show, Chelsea Lately, aired on E! network. For seven years, we watched religiously as she poked fun at everyone from the Kardashians to Justin Bieber with her razor-sharp wit, launched a bevy of comedic talent (Whitney Cummings, Ross Mathews, Jen Kirkman) and made us all feel just a little bit better about those awful hangover days (groan!) Now, our favorite comedienne is back for your streaming pleasure with a four-part docu-series that covers topics from marriage to racism and just about everything in between. While it wasn’t quite what we were expecting, we have to say, we learned a lot. Read on for our top nine takeaways.
1. Never pigeonhole someone… least of all Chelsea. If you were expecting the sharp-tongued hostess with the mostest to crack you up via her usual spoof schtick a la Chelsea: After Lately, well, you’d be wrong. This docu-series is a major departure from any project we’ve ever seen Chelsea tackle.
For starters? It’s actually got its fair share of serious moments. The marriage episode, for instance, has Chelsea showing a side of herself you’ve likely never seen, as she lets down her guard far enough to admit that yes, she is, in fact, human. Though she’s certainly independent, she does get lonely from time to time, and you can’t help but feel just a twinge of sadness as she declares, “yes, I DO want to be with somebody!” That’s a pretty far cry from the lighthearted, booze-adled Chelsea we remember, but we have to say: We enjoy her human side.
2. People appreciate you more than you think. In Chelsea Does Marriage, Chelsea is shocked to learn that her ex-boyfriend Peter picked up on her love for babies and that he’s surprised she’s not a mother. “It’s nice to hear him saying these things,” she says, tearing up, “because you don’t think someone’s watching you all the time. It’s… nice to hear.” It just goes to show that people notice qualities in you sometimes that you might not even be aware of – perhaps we’re all a little more loved and appreciated than we ever even knew.
3. You can get married in a drive thru? Maybe we’ve been living under a rock, but we had no idea that the A Little White Chapel in Vegas (yes, the same one responsible for marrying Bruce Willis + Demi Moore, Frank Sinatra + Mia Farrow and Britney Spears + Jason Allen Alexander) has a drive-thru that you can actually wed in called the Tunnel of Love — the first of its kind in the world, according to owner Charolette Richards. Originally constructed in 1991 after Charolette noticed disabled clients struggling to exit their cars and enter the chapel, the tunnel has since become as iconic as the chapel itself. For $75, you can drive up (in your own vehicle, though special cars are also available to use for a fee) single and drive away as an officially married couple. Mind. Blown.
4. Chelsea invented an app. In Chelsea Does Silicon Valley, Chelsea explores our ever-growing obsession with technology, and, in the process, winds up creating her very own app. Aptly dubbed “Gotta Go!” the app allows you to send yourself messages under the guise of a friend or family member with a pre-set story, or one of your choosing, that allows you to escape awkward situations in a believable manner. On a bad date? Set your timer to receive a 911 text from your BFF. Going to a party you don’t really want to attend? Looks like your house alarm’s about to go off. It’s a thing, and it’s real – you can download it in the app store now.
5. Facetune is a celeb’s best friend. Speaking of apps, Leah Remini and Khloe Kardashian revealed that Facetune was their app of choice when doctoring up those Instagram pics. This portrait retouching tool has the power to banish blemishes, smooth out wrinkles and even whiten teeth, and apparently, celebrities are just as obsessed with it as we are. No wonder they always look so perfect!
6. Your attention span is really short. Like, ridiculously short. Shorter, in fact, than a goldfish’s, says Dr. Larry Rosen, professor of psychology at Cal State University, Dominguez Hills. Dr. Rosen tells Chelsea that due to an increasingly technological society, the attention span of an average person is down to just three minutes or less. Yikes!
7. We’re actually addicted to technology. Studies have also shown that Facebook and other social media interactions can actually release dopamine into our brains – the same chemical responsible for enjoyment of good food, sex, making money and, as Chelsea’s best friend and actress Mary McCormak points out, illicit substances. That means we’ve literally become addicted to technology, much in the same way one becomes addicted to drugs, cigarettes or just about anything else. *Slowly backing away from the computer.*
8. 500,000 people die from addiction every year. That’s a staggering figure on its own, but just for some perspective; Dr. Oliver George at the Scripps Research Institute tells Chelsea that the number is greater than the number of deaths incurred during the Civil War, WWI and WWII combined. Whoa. Take a moment to soak that in. If that’s not a sobering fact, we don’t know what is.
9. A cure for addiction may be on the horizon. Dr. Oliver George also suggests that researchers at the Scripps Institute may be close to a breakthrough. His team is currently working on a heroin dependence study in which an electrode is placed in the brain that sends signals for the user to stop seeking drugs. And so far? It’s working — at least in the Institute’s studies of rats (which he says operate the same as humans when it comes to addiction issues). In George’s study, rats that were highly dependent on heroin (the most addictive substance besides nicotine, according to George) immediately stop seeking the substance. The team’s work is unpublished, however, so it may be awhile before we see the fruits of their labors — George estimates five to 10 years away. Even so, it’s a hopeful stat we hope to see come to fruition.
What did you learn from Chelsea’s new series? Share with us on Twitter at @britandco!
(Photos by Frederick M. Brown + Rick Gershon + Justin Sullivan /Getty)