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It’s back to the twenties for Chelsea Handler on new half-hour comedy Are You There, Chelsea?, debuting Wednesday on NBC — except it’ll be That ’70s Show alum Laura Prepon taking on the “Chelsea” role.
Prepon stopped by The Hollywood Reporter studio to discuss her new show, which will feature Handler playing Chelsea’s sister Sloane.
“It makes sense that I could play her because we both have deep voices, we both carry ourselves a certain way, we’re both from Jersey,” she tells THR. “When I’m sitting with Chelsea, I’m never thinking, ‘I’m playing you.’ It’s totally my own version. I’ve never felt uncomfortable or, ‘Should I do more this?’ ”
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As far as Prepon’s concerned, the comparisons between Chelsea the character and Chelsea the person will be a moot point since Handler is “playing an uptight Christian [who] just became a new mother.”
Though the comedy will air during the first hour of primetime, it’ll be racy, raunchy and risque.
“I have shared a a couple embarrassing stories with my creators [Dottie Zicklin and Julie Ann Larson] and they’re like, ‘We’ve got to put it in the show,’ ” Prepon says with a laugh. “We definitely are not afraid to go there on the show.”
Case in point: There will be an upcoming politically-incorrect episode in which Chelsea dates a wealthy man in hopes that he’ll in turn give her best friend (Ali Wong) a job. “He turns out to be overly sensitive, cries at everything,” Prepon teases. “I try to make myself so disgusting that he’ll break up with me.”
As far as references or jokes for fans of That ’70s Show, Prepon says that at this moment, there aren’t any in the show. But not to fret, Wilmer Valderrama will be joining the show as Chelsea’s love interest.
Are You There, Chelsea? centers on Chelsea and her friends, who all work at a New Jersey sports bar. The series premieres Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.
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