Who doesn’t have a rowdy, inappropriate, booze-loving relative? You know, the one who drinks a little too much at holiday dinners and overshares about their sex life? On the off chance that your family lacks this chaotic member, Netflix’s new show “Chicago Party Aunt” is more than willing to help you fill that void.
“Chicago Party Aunt” originally started in 2016 as a Twitter account that published jokes about a specific type of Chicago woman. She’s loud, inappropriate and quite the partier. Now, the idea has been turned into a show whose main character, Diane Dunbrowski (Lauren Ash, “Superstore”), epitomizes the archetype of the Chicago Party Aunt. If it’s not already clear, she is an aunt who lives in Chicago and loves to party.
In the series’s pilot, the audience is introduced to Diane. Her bejeweled jeans, spiky hair and boisterous personality, paired with a heavy drinking habit, give her more in common with a college student than your typical sitcom aunt. Thus, it’s no shock that her life is almost always in shambles. Over the course of the first episode, she is fired from her job, left by her husband and kicked out of her home.
Ultimately a waste of time, “Chicago Party Aunt” is vulgar and absurd. As an animated comedy, it aims to replicate shows like “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons,” which most definitely cater to fans of raunchy humor. However, Unlike “Family Guy,” “Chicago Party Aunt” doesn’t evolve past its initial gag nor does it approach its subject matter in a clever or interesting way.
Diane Dunbrowski comes off as a pathetic and irritating woman who has yet to come to terms with her age. Simply put, she’s a 40-something who’s more likely to finish a keg of beer than show up to work or remember her wedding anniversary.
While this disaster of an aunt may be amusing, the humor that she evokes is not a result of her one-liners, but rather her mortifying behavior. The show is cringe-inducing and if Diane wasn’t an animated character, it would be extremely difficult to watch without being revolted. Frankly, no one wants to witness their middle-aged aunt (or anyone’s for that matter) announce something along the lines of “I’m gonna party my tits off” while her thong pokes out of her pants.
In an attempt to live up to its name, “Chicago Party Aunt” has its characters speak with thick accents and make frequent references to their windy hometown. Whether this is a ploy to be funny or relatable, the show goes way past overdoing it. While it’s admirable that Diane is so passionate about her city, the jokes don’t hit when a non-Chicagoan doesn’t have the knowledge needed to understand the punch line.
Given its lazy jokes, it’s hard not to question whether the Chicago Party Aunt’s crass behavior should’ve stayed confined to a 280-character tweet. Twitter is a testament to the fact that less is indeed more, and this aphorism certainly holds true when it comes to Diane.
The Chicago Party Aunt Twitter account thrives because of its short, comedic tweets that allow followers to form their own picture of the woman behind the handle. Ultimately, Netflix fell short when it came to executing the new animated series: The jokes don’t hit, the storyline is nonexistent and the main character is difficult to relate to.
Aside from this, there wasn’t much more to take away from the pilot that the title didn’t already address in three simple words. Unlike a tweet, the thin premise of the show inexplicably takes nearly the entire episode to be established. Impatient viewers will be wishing they’d just scrolled through their Twitter feed instead of devoting 24 minutes to understanding the point the show is trying to get across.
If there’s anything worthy of mention from the show’s premiere, it’s Diane Dunbrowski’s motto: “If life gives you lemons, turn that shit into Mike’s Hard Lemonade.”
Unfortunately, “Chicago Party Aunt” doesn’t seem to be supplying us with lemons any time soon. So, unless the subsequent episodes counteract the stupidity with better comedy, its audience is going to be quite disappointed and, inevitably, very parched.
Daily Arts Writer Molly Hirsch can be reached at email@example.com.