Campus Ladies: Season One

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Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Sean K. Lambert

Producer: Brian Hall

Campus Ladies: Season One Movie Review


Behold the perils of freshman dorm life: sneaking alcohol, surviving communal bathrooms, heading toward menopause... Okay, definitely not all the problems of your average first-year undergrad, but Barri and Joan are far from average. In this ridiculously giddy college comedy series, they're two middle-aged suburbanites who return to school full-blast, living it up shamelessly among their much-younger colleagues.

And "shameless" is the key to the all-out, effortless bawdiness that makes Campus Ladies nothing short of a riot for 22 minutes at a time. At its heart are its two stars (and co-creators), Groundlings veterans Christen Sussin and Carrie Aizley. Both inhabit their characters -- divorced Barri and widowed Joan, respectively -- with an abandon that makes viewers cringe with delight, especially if they have extroverted parents who never know when to shut up.

The series pilot cuts right to the chase, moving quickly through the setup in favor of on-campus hijinks: The ladies catch Barri's husband in bed with another woman, "playing her like an accordion," as Barri explains. Two scenes later, the pair is dragging designer luggage through the fictional University of the Midwest campus, loudly throwing around slang like "dude" and "quad" as if the words were long-lost secrets they can't wait to tell.

On move-in day, the girls meet the series' two standout supporting characters: neighboring roommates in the form of sweet southern Drew (Derek Carter) and entrepreneurial Iranian Abdul (Amir Talai). The foursome are fish out of water to varying degrees and their unconditional friendship provides a naturally funny contradiction while being sincerely warm.

With the improvisational expertise of its leads and series executive producer Cheryl Hines (veteran of another cringeworthy series, Curb Your Enthusiasm), Campus Ladies keeps an edge-of-your-seat excitement. The dialogue feels as raw as any off-the-edge improv exercise and the actors consistently appear to be reacting to lines for the first time.

At the center of the show's humor: sex talk. Lots of it. How to get it, when it's good, how it should be done. No surprise with episode titles like "No Means No," "Lesbian Lovers," and "My First Orgasm." And there's a slam-dunk contrast between the open, sex-crazed Barri and the reserved, hesitant Joan, first highlighted in the excellent "Night of the Condom."

In that episode, the girls head for a bar where they meet smooth loverboy James (Anthony Anderson) and his roommate, beat-poet wacko Stuart (Saturday Night Live's Will Forte). While Barri and James go the mayonnaise-on-the-nipples route in the bedroom -- James's nipples, not Barri's -- Stuart passes on two nuggets of sexual wisdom to the visiting Drew and Abdul: 1) Name a woman's genitalia as soon as possible, preferably something medieval like Esmerelda; and 2) Never wear a condom because it makes a woman feel dirty.

It's this kind of head-slapping, quick-riffing silliness that keeps Campus Ladies afloat even when repetition sets in now and again. The scenes and episodes fly by, so fresh material pops in and out at a satisfying speed. Add in the occasional guest actor like Paul Reubens and the possibility of an improv line falling flat and Campus Ladies is the happiest, most energetic hidden comedy on television.


Contactmusic

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aaiugobshyte's picture

aaiugobshyte

I love this show, literally sophomoric humor at its best. I recommend that if you have any type of bladder or bowel disorder make sure to wear a Depends. Do NOT drink milk and watch this. Finally North America has something cutting edge and almost as funny as Trailer Park Boys. The characters are so well cast. Amir and Jonah are amazing young up and comming actors. I see them in all kinds of stuff, that probably tells you what type of movies I like. There is a boatload of powerhouse talent on the show. When roomate Paiges parents give Joan and Barri the second degree it almost triggered my seisures. Every characters virtues and shortcommings are presented in a concise way. This allows the show to be very fast moving and makes you want to stay nailed to your set.

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Campus Ladies: Season One Rating

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