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Science on the Small Screen: Chelsea Does…

“I know I’m streaming, but what is streaming?” asks Chelsea Handler of Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings in her series CHELSEA DOES... She’s joking about what streaming really is. Netflix is streaming all four episodes of her series. Handler digs into topics of personal interest asking questions so obvious they might seem stupid, but whose answers even top executives have a hard time answering clearly. The second episode—“Chelsea Does Silicon Valley”—takes comedian Chelsea Handler from her home in Los Angeles northwards to the heart of the tech industry. The episode is a sort-of “dummies guide” to the tech industry. She gets meetings with all the top people: she visits Dick Costello, Twitter’s ex-CEO; she tries out the latest products at Wired; she converses with an AI robot, based off of a real person, who keeps interrupting her. On a digital detox in the woods, Handler questions how technology is impacting individuals and society at large. These are questions she also takes up with her befuddled-looking clinical psychologist. Handler takes a coding class with a bunch of middle-schoolers but can’t follow along. Her goal is to build an app. While her dream project is one to help little people find each other using GPS technology, she moves forward with the more marketable “Gotta Go.” This app rescues the user with planned emergency text messages from any unwanted situation. Handler uses it to get out of the coding class.

“Gotta Go” can be downloaded from the App Store. CHELSEA DOES is directed by Eddie Schmidt. The series finale—“Chelsea Does Drugs”—features neuroscientist Heather Berlin, who wrote for Science & Film about Charlie Kauffman’s ANOMALISA.

Chelsea Handler has a new Netflix talk show airing three nights a week beginning May 11, 2016.