Created by writing duo Christina Raia and Kelsey Rauber, Kelsey the webseries is a semi-autobiographical show about… well I’m not going to say the name three times in a sentence. She’s a chronically single, hopelessly socially awkward lesbian whose stories unfold as she tells them to her friends over the course of a day. Using a conversational tone and suitably crazy self-deprecating character, Kelsey the Web Series, is a charming, amiable, and very likable show, but sadly also a very flawed one.
Produced by Congested Cat Productions, a young company founded by Christina Raia and photographer Chris Carroll in 2011. After producing a number of short films, Kelsey is the first series the team has put together. Kelsey, played by Nichole Yannetty is backed up by her friends, cynical flatmate Samantha (Sharina Martin), the abrasive Rowan (Brennan Taylor) and the ever-well dressed Tyrone (Daniel K Isaac). Whilst not being a breathtaking cast, Kelsey’s characters are played well enough, and there’s a genuine warmth that comes through. Nichole Yannetty plays Kelsey with the right degree of unbalanced awkwardness, which is nice to see, though perhaps Kelsey’s ‘zaniness’ is relied on too much for humour value.
The real issue for me with this show is the writing. It’s not terrible, I want to make that clear, we’re not looking at another Men’s Room here. No, it’s not an awful show, far from it. It’s just that it didn’t make me laugh. We can talk about the subjectivity of humour all day long if we like, but the fact is that for the most part, some things will be funny to most people and some things won’t. In this case the writing of Kelsey the Web Series just failed to capture whatever it is that makes funny things funny. The situations Kelsey is put in all had potential, but there was nothing humourous enough to register anything more than a smile from me. The scene where Kelsey is subjected to an extremely unpleasant kiss could have been hilarious if done differently, but there was something about the whole thing that made it seem wrapped in cotton wool, like the humour was being muffled by the constant niceness of the thing.
And this show is nice, very nice. It’s warm and cuddly and endearing, and if you like that sort of thing then Kelsey is the show for you. It’s a friendly little slice of life series, but if you want something to make you laugh, this isn’t it. There’s an old maxim that states that the best way to make humour work is timing, and this is an example of where it can go wrong. There are lines which could have been funny if for a bit of editing and inspired direction.
It’s fair to say that this production company is young, and relatively inexperienced at the series format, and it shows. It’s certainly not the last time a young company tried their hand and it didn’t come out right. What they have done very well, and should be commended for is creating a series with a natural warmth and, dare I say it, cuddliness which despite my deep reservations about the show, I somehow ended up feeling for it, like watching a kitten getting stuck on top of the curtain rail. I hope the company learns from this series and improves with later projects and I’ll be interested in seeing what comes out of Congested Cat in the future (oh that does not sound right).