Pilot Perception: Hello Ladies

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: Hello Ladies, HBO in the U.S. and HBO Canada in Canada, Sundays at 10:30/9:30c

The Pedigree: The show is executive produced by star Stephen Merchant along with his colleagues from The Office, Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky. The trio co-wrote the pilot, which was directed by Merchant.

The Cast & How You Know Them: Along with Merchant, the show stars Christine Woods (Go On), Nate Torrence (Mr. Sunshine), and Kevin Weisman (Alias).

The Premise: A web designer moves from England to Los Angeles in search of excitement and romance, and gets into various hijinks with his two male best friends and his female roommate.

A Taste:

What Works: Merchant does his thing and does it well; he somehow manages to make his character engaging even when he’s also annoying. The culture clash aspect was subtler and therefore more interesting than I’d expected. And the dynamic between Stuart and his roommate was really enjoyable; I look forward to seeing where they go with that, especially if they allow it to develop as a friendship rather than a love interest immediately.

What Doesn’t: The buddy aspect of this, which is supposed to be the focus, just fell flat for me, and that bodes poorly for the show going forward. As you might expect from the title and premise, there were a fair number sexist jokes, though the show wasn’t actually quite as misogynist as I expected. There were several moments when I found myself cringing on the characters’ behalf, and I know a lot of people enjoy that kind of humor (so you may love this!) but I personally don’t.

Our Favorite Line: “Sorry, it wasn’t him. It was actually your dignity disappearing into the night.”

You Might Like This if you like male friendship comedies, British humor (though it’s made more accessible for an American audience), and cringe comedy, as in The Office.

If You’re Interested: HBO reruns its series frequently, so check your local listings, or try HBO Go if you want to watch online or on your preferred device.

(Photo courtesy of HBO.)

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