Kudrow doesn't shrink from 'Web Therapy'

Lisa Kudrow's new series

Lisa Kudrow's new series " Web Therapy" Tuesday, 11 p.m., Showtime. (2011) Photo Credit: Showtime Photo/

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Fiona Wallice (Lisa Kudrow) is a Philadelphia socialite with Main Line connections, an affected accent, a wealthy lawyer husband who indulges her, and now -- best of all! -- an Internet "modality," as she is fond of calling her new online venture. Fiona's perfectly unreasonable idea is this: Why have people undergo therapy for 50-minute sessions when they can undergo a similar, stripped-down session on the Web in three minutes?

Patients wouldn't even have to travel to her "office." Just turn on the computer, and Skype away -- for three minutes. As she pragmatically tells patient Richard Pratt (Tim Bagley), "The 50-minute sessions go on and on about dreams . . . and memories and past experiences that add up to a whole lot of nothing, as far as I'm concerned."

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MY SAY Kudrow's "Web Therapy" launched three years ago on (where else?) the Web, as a puckish, gleeful and wholly improvised send-up of (what else?) the Web, with its crackpot, get-rich-quick schemes and scams. You can almost hear Fiona reason that if some dumb thing called Facebook can be worth billions, surely three-minute Web sessions should be worth something.

In the Showtime series, the 10-minute webisodes have been expanded into full 30-minute TV episodes. The content is new but everything else is familiar -- Fiona's back story as a conniving financial-services exec who left her company, Lachman Brothers, under mysterious circumstances, and her Long Suffering Spouse, Kip (Victor Garber). There also are some new cameos -- in a future episode, Jane Lynch, for example, plays a type-A executive who injured a co-worker and needs to undergo therapy via corporate mandate. The cameos often are amusing, and so is Kudrow, but someone at Showtime evidently forgot to ask whether a one-joke webisode can or should be expanded into a one-joke TV series. This one feels like a strrrretch.

BOTTOM LINE Staring at Kudrow staring at her patients who stare back can be an awful lot of staring over 30 minutes. Moreover, there's no apparent answer to this question: Who would pay this fruitcake a dime to analyze them?


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