Web Therapy: Lisa Kudrow's smart new web comedy series


I'm really sick and tired of these online series that use the first personal confessional --like Lonelygirl15 and the totally awful Gemini Division with Rosario Dawson -- in service of the hokey dramatic trope of overly expository webcam monologues. In the case of Lonelygirl15's fictional over-sharing protagonist, Bree, I suppose it was creatively justified, but with NBC's Gemini Division, it just feels forced, crammed down for the medium and much better suited for radio! There is about as much tension inherent in this kind of gimmicky storytelling as there is in making the audience listen to an answering machine message. A particularly long one at that. And then do it again in the next day's installment. Count me out.

Now there's a new entrant in the genre of "webcam narrative": Web Therapy starring, co-written and co-produced by the brilliant Lisa Kudrow. But Web Therapy as the name might imply, is not another one-sided windbag borefest, it's -- hello -- actual two-way conversations that purportedly take place in real time (just 3 minutes per session!) over dual webcams between annoying psychologist Dr. Fiona Wallace and her exasperated patients. What a simple, yet clever idea! One that makes sense that it occurs over webcams. The initial episodes of Web Therapy -- each co-starring Bob Balaban Tim Bagley -- are terrific viewing, and really hilarious. It's the very first web series where I thought "I'd watch every episode" and that's really saying something. There needs to be more stuff like this. Kudos to Kudrow and her collaborators for this little gem of a show.

Web Therapy

(Richard Metzger is a guestblogger)


  1. To bad it is on a ridiculous Flash site with an intro that takes “forever”. Maybe she can move it to Hulu or something if it takes off.

  2. @#1

    You can skip the intro, you know.

    Only watched the first one, but the premise seems great. I never watched “Friends” by my own free will, didn’t think much of the cast, but Kudrow’s HBO series “The Comeback” was hilarious. She’s got serious comedy chops. Anyone who liked the original “The Office” would love “The Comeback.”

  3. Wasn’t Dr. Horrible one of those “online series that use the first personal confessional” ? I regard it as the first near-masterpiece of webisodic viewing. If Web Therapy can even come close to it, I’ll be sure to tune in.

  4. also, from L studio, is a funny new comedy about dogs, called Puppy Love. Each episode has a well know, or semi-well known actor, usually with their own dog. The Show runner is Amy Harris (from sex in the city), and she also wrote a few episodes. Other episodes are written by other sex in the city writers.

  5. Dr. Horrible was awesome. Not really what I’d call a primarily first-person confessional (although that was the premise, but it expanded on it a lot). But definitely the best web mini-series to date.

    As for web series, I’d watch anything with Kim Evey’s name attached to it in any way. The Guild is hillarious. Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show is wacky brilliance. Retarded Policeman is funnier than Reno 911. And Two Hot Girls in the Shower is the best shower-based online advice show ever!

  6. @#2

    I totally agree. I’d take the Bammer over Kudrow anyday. Not that I don’t like Kudrow, but Maria’s particular brand of insanity appeals to me more. I also love that pug!

  7. #5 posted by whistlejacket , October 9, 2008 12:22 PM

    Tim Bagley, not Bob Balaban.

    Thanks, whistlejacket, much appreciated!

    Tim Bagley is just terrific in this show.


    PS I love Maria Bamford, too

  8. clarkandmichael.com they dont use webcams, but the show is hillarious. I’ve watched all ten episodes at least twice, and no, I am not a thirteen year old that wants to date michael sara.

  9. My personal favorite is Dame Delilah (www.damedelilah.com). New webshow run by Kerri Kenney of the State/Reno911. Still stuck in the semi-confessional mode of this, but it works. Horrible flash centric page though, ugh!

  10. I never got the humor of watching obnoxious people. It’s just not funny to me, just obnoxious. I guess I’m not comfortable laughing at people, I much prefer laughing with them.

  11. Maria Bamford cracks me up – I never know if her squeaky voice is her real one or not – and when she changes her voice, and uses a lower-register ‘smoothie’ voice, I go nuts.

    Lisa Kudrow is cool, too … now, if only her new web show uses ‘physical therapy’, I’d be ‘all over it like white on rice’, dontcha know ….

  12. Nice to see Dr Horrible, and The Guild mentioned, but also omitted were the RocketAce series’ of Deadend Days, and Cerealized, plus the initial run of Sanctuary, which has sadly downgraded to being just another Scifi Channel show. (I was only a fan of Cerealized, as I am not into horror, but still)

  13. Lisa Kudrow is so good. I thought her performance in The Comeback was devastating. I actually had to stop watching it because it was so painful. I also really liked her in Happy Endings. I wonder if you could get this at the video store? I understand that it is online, but will it ever be released DVD? Hope so.

  14. @ #4: That is the very point of Flash for “content” producers. (Notice, I didn’t call them artists.) You don’t need DRM when you release something so poor quality nobody will even bother to pirate it.

  15. I created an account here just so I could say how absolutely boring I thought this show was. I could barely stand to watch it.

  16. It’s a shame that there’s so much overhead in the Flash interface that it doesn’t play smoothly on my EeePC (while YouTube has no problems).

  17. Reminds me of “The Comeback”, Kudrow’s self-depricating, cascade-failure style of humor. It can be a little hard to take, but also very funny when it reaches a peak.

  18. @13, agreed! I had that problem with Dr. Horrible as well, though..

    I like Lisa Kudrow and all, but this just wasn’t doing it for me.
    I’ll be sure to check out what everyone else has suggested here though, esp. Maria Bramford as I have seen some other material on Super Deluxe that I have enjoyed..

  19. Kudrow stars as Dr. Fiona Wallice, a therapist of dubious reputation. Fiona is tired of listening to her patients drone on and on about their dreams and feelings; she has reduced all of her sessions to short 3 minute web meetings. You can tell right away that Fiona is a horrible therapist and cares little for her patients. The concept for the show is fresh and original, and Kudrow portrays her character very well. What makes the show really interesting is that she is always drawn in by something that the patient has that can help her advance her career. Each episode is short (4-6 minutes long) with each client taking 3 episodes to resolve.

    What I found the most amusing was the irony in Fiona’s advice which essentially consists of her saying a lot of nothing; despite this she complains when her clients do the same with their dreams or thoughts. The characters in the show are fairly well developed and the acting is solid. Season 2 is supposed to focus more on character development and Fiona’s failing marriage. There were only a few episodes that I thought fell flat, the rest were well executed.

    My only real complaint with Web Therapy is its extremely poor online presence. This is very disappointing for an “award-winning show”. Clips can be found on lstudio, youtube, hulu and other media sites. Each new article about the show is posted on dozens and dozens of entertainment sites with little to no commenting. There are a couple facebook pages with links to the show. Even after emailing the production company, I was given a generic response stating the obvious: clips can be found on youtube etc. Having to search through multiple pages to find a few comments is not ideal.

    Looking at another webby winner Trent Reznor (Webby artist of the year), he has an official site and interacts with his fans. There is actual discussion. Why then does Web Therapy not have an official site, or even a way to contact the producers with feedback/comments? Perhaps it’s because of Kudrow’s self-admitted fear of the internet? She certainly chose the correct medium if that’s the case. In my opinion there is really no excuse for such poor marketing; either it’s greed or laziness. The producers’ idiosyncrasies must have seeped into Fiona.

  20. Web Therapy, i just discovered about this webisode and it definitely one of my favorite. I love The Guild the most of all (since i am a MMORGP gamer myself) but also watch the Temp Life (but imo it’s not is funny as the Guild).

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