Entertainment

"The Duchess" proves that not every stand-up comedian should get a series


Browse a few of its offerings, and one soon discovers that not every stand-up special in Netflix's library is created equal and many, including stand-up comedian Katherine Ryan , fit the descriptor of "an acquired taste."


One early scene smacks us across the face with this strategy by showing Ryan's fictional alter ego escorting her 9-year-old daughter Olive (Katy Byrne) to school while wearing a sweater splashed with the advertisement "World's Smallest Pussy."


She casts herself in "The Duchess" as a single mom whose feminist, body-positive ceramics have made her something of a celebrity in the U.K. Or perhaps more accurately, she plied her artistic talent to extend the 15 minutes of fame she fell into by getting knocked up by Shep (Rory Keenan), a scuzzy former boy band star who drank and drugged his career into oblivion.


Meanwhile, when Katherine decides she wants to get pregnant again, her idiot logic concludes that the most stable path is to ensure that Olives younger sibling shares the same paternal DNA…which means propositioning Shep to help her make another baby.


A surprise boy band performance in the finale is gloriously cringeworthy, as is an earlier conference in the headmaster's office at Olive school where we find out about the comedy lessons she's been picking up at home.


But the lack of elegance in establishing her interactions with the uptight fellow mothers against whom Katherine is supposed to be contrasted, or the overnight shift with which her adversary and foil suddenly becomes her friend, makes much of the humor seem forced.






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