Stella: A Reassessment
The one-season Comedy Central
series, now on DVD, had its hits and misses.
Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain.
With the release of the first and only season of the “Stella” series
from former State members Michael Showalter, David Wain and Michael Ian
Black on DVD, it’s time to look at what was good about this show, yet
why it wasn’t quite good enough to be picked up by Comedy Central for
A few other State members went on to create the much more successful
series Reno 911, and without their abilities to focus ideas and cut out
parts that drift, the members of Stella get a little too experimental
for their own good.
Stella’s running jokes were always subtle -- first, the obvious -- the
three players are always in suits, live together and always do
everything together. But Showalter, Wain and Black also have running
gags in the series that are a little harder to catch, such as a brief
“yay” by all three when something goes their way, as well as a penchant
for woefully underdone disguises to remedy something or get what they
want, that are quickly seen through.
The coffee shop episode in the series actually worked particularly well,
making the absurdities plausible, as Showalter gets a job as a barista
and a jealous Black sets up a card table across the street to sell
coffee that he actually gets by running into the coffee shop -- but the
flip side, in the very next episode, in which the guys fill in for a
paperboy they injured, flails around with the guys getting terrorized by
bullies and trying to impress them with a (purposely?) lame rap.
This can be a matter of your taste for Stella’s style, but all in all,
the scattershot, unrestrained manner in which they follow their
sometimes misguided muses, made “Stella” an uneven series in the end.
The only surprise may be which episodes you like and which you don’t.
However, overall, on a second viewing, Stella seems like it can bear
repeated viewings, and that might eventually get it the same cult status
as the State group now has.
Click to purchase Stella - Season One