HBO has one of the finest programming menus on television, but their latest comedy, Hello Ladies – produced, written, directed, and starring Stephen Merchant – falls far short of the barometer the network has set over recent years. Merchant – who previously worked with Ricky Gervais to bring us The Office, Life’s Too Short, and Extras – seems to have forgotten how to tell a joke, a story, or even provide a moment’s worth of entertainment in his first effort away from the comedic genius.
Merchant plays Stuart, an English web developer who spends his time at bars and night clubs trying to get laid and/or find romance in his new home, Los Angeles. His best friends include the newly separated yet always insipid Wade (Nate Torrence), and the handicapped womanizer, Kives (Kevin Weisman). The trio makes for one of the least interesting and least likable groups of characters to ever lead a television series. And yet somehow, regardless of his blubbering foolishness, Stuart seems to be pretty well off, having a sportscar and a large enough pad that he can have an attractive tenant (Christine Woods) on the premises (raise your hand if you think that scenario turns into a future romantic storyline… gag me).
Unfortunately, the laugh meter reaches an epic low in the pilot episode, one that should try and throw its very best at you in an attempt to lure you back each week. Instead, the only thing this uneven and obnoxious episode did for me was make me head to my DVR and cancel the series – something that HBO will probably do in a year or two if the show does not drastically improve. I’d say more, but what’s the point?