AMC has begun promoting a new web series from comedy queen Cheri Oteri (SNL) entitled Liza Life Coach about a bit off the wall life coach named Liza (go figure!). While it is high time this woman was back on television– and it’s great to see her in a show of her own– one can’t help but wonder just why the network that has become so known for creating new, original, one-of-a-kind, and groudbreaking programming would agree to a copycat of an already existing web series…or even another cable comedy?
Maybe AMC is just so far removed from the bustling saturation of Hollywood that they somehow managed to miss Lisa Kudrow’s web series (Web Therapy) with the same premise completely. Judging from Oteri’s Liza Life Coach one-line summary being sent around in press releases, however, it doesn’t appear that’s so. In fact, it appears it was lifted straight from previous press releases from L Studio, Kudrow’s production company, who brought us two seasons (thirty episodes) of Web Therapy). Apparently Liza consults patients from her office-partment even though she is completely ill-equipped to even handle her own life.”
Sounds exactly like what Kudrow did using the Skype-style online chatting function to converse with her patients. More times than not she projected her own insecurities and issues onto guest stars like Bob Balaban and Jane Lynch. And often her patients called her out on her wack-a-doo behavior, causing need for one of Kudrow’s signature stumbly, scrunched-up responses. When she was caught in her own web she was funniest, her delivery driest and most pure out of surprise.
Throw in some celebrity patients, and that even sounds familiar of Starz’ original comedy series Head Case, about a maybe-more-than-just-a-bit off-kilter therapist, Dr. Elizabeth Goode who even goes so far as to discuss suicide methods with one particular depressed patient after her husband leaves her on their wedding night.
Head Case came first and it came best, featuring the completely fearless comedy stylings of Alexandra Wentworth as the aforementioned Dr. Goode, and a colorful cast of characters that included a starf*cker receptionist, one-armed maintenance man, adulterous boyfriend in it only for the connections, and alcoholic parents who were quick to offer only insulting words. AMC is going to have some big footsteps to follow in with their copycat programming, and unfortunately no matter how clever Oteri is when it comes to improving zingy one-liners, the memories of those who came before will always beg the question of “why is this show even necessary?”