'Chelsea' Season 2 Is Getting More Political

by S. Atkinson

She's one of the most outspoken personalities on television, so it's no surprise that the Chelsea Season 2 trailer suggests Chelsea Handler will be getting more political. According to Entertainment Weekly, the host has been watching CNN, reading Politico and The New York Times, and loving it. “Watching this administration go down and fall apart at the seams is one of the most enjoyable times of my life," she said. "Because he’s such a bad person and the people who are around him are so bad. To watch bad people get their comeuppance is a really, really satisfying feeling.”

This increasing political focus isn't immediately obvious in the trailer, in which the celebrity segments focus on more frothy topics like Kate Hudson's weight after giving birth and potentially once sleeping with 50 Cent (before we get too excited, she laughs afterwards, so that's presumably a joke...right?).

However, the framing of the trailer gives a subtle nod to the more politicised content. The trailer is titled "Chelsea's tips for the modern host," and we're clued in to the fact that this is tongue in cheek by the way the host is styled.

Handler looks less like herself and way more like Doris Day, the good girl heroine of so many '50s and '60s movies, like Pillow Talk and That Touch Of Mink, who also often sported a blonde bob, a string of pearls and a permanent smile. Day's characters were often concerned with doing what was appropriate; their values often reflected those of the time. So it feels like the entire frame of the trailer is intended to reference the way Trump's administration is rolling back rights for women to the '50s and '60s.

It's all very subtle, of course, but the first tip — "be polite" — feels like an oblique reference to the whole "nasty woman" debacle, when Trump referred to Hillary Clinton as such while she was explaining how she would raise taxes for the rich to tackle entitlement if she became President. Since Clinton wasn't doing anything to inspire such a heated reaction, it felt like Trump's swipe at her was simply in opposition to the idea of a woman being engaged in politics and having an opinion at all.

Again, possibly I'm getting too abstract, but her second tip — "don't get too personal" — feels like a nod to the way that women are having to get far more public in terms of discussing their reproductive rights to lobby against the onslaught of bills attempting to limit women's access to reproductive services (Emily's List reported that, as of Jan. 12, there had already been 46 anti-abortion bills introduced across 14 states).

Tip four, to "speak like a lady," shows Handler repeatedly swearing. This tip feels like an explicit nod to a news report from Axios (who spoke to members of his team) alleging in February 2017 that the President "likes the women who work for him 'to dress like women'," and that women working on a public-facing local level "felt pressure to wear dresses." As such, even Handler's language feels like a form of resistance to this outdated approach to women in the workplace.

Given both the framing, and the celebrity segments, it looks like we're getting both the old (fun, in-depth celebrity interviews) and the new (a more politicized look at the world) from one of TV's more formidable women. If Season 2 is even half as good as the trailer, this could be the best run of Chelsea yet.