If you failed to miss the debut episode of Campus Ladies on Oxygen, you missed on hilarious show. I’ll have to say that I had doubts when I realized what the premise was, but five minutes into the first episode, those doubts went out the window. I had the opportunity to see the first two episodes, and I haven’t laughed this hard in ages. The New York Times article about the show is so right on. It’s Patsy and Edina meets Midwest housewives meets Old School.
What makes the show work are the two stars, Carrie Aizley and Christen Sussin. These women will do anything for a laugh, and thank God for that.
If “Campus Ladies” is not America’s answer to “Ab Fab,” it comes close. The series, which has its premiere Sunday night on Oxygen, is often hilarious but it may be an acquired taste.
The two women whose adventures this show chronicles are 40-ish and American. When Joan (Carrie Aizley), a widow, and Barri (Christen Sussin) walk in on Barri’s husband in bed with another woman, they head straight for a bar and some reassuring umbrella-in-the-glass drinks. Seeing a couple of pretty blond twins having a good time and toasting their sophomore year with friends, Joan and Barri are inspired. To spice up their boring lives, they’ll go to college.
Their normal-college-age roommate, Paige (Miranda Kent), is horrified to meet them. “No offense to the elderly or whatever,” she says in extreme distress, babbling apologies as she rushes off to the housing office to ask for a room switch. (Housing says no.)
The sorority sisters at Gamma Delta Rho are equally appalled when the relentlessly cheerful older women turn up hoping to join their group. Joan and Barri don’t understand half the younger women’s questions, like “Lacto-ovo or vegan?” and “Jude or Johnny?”
The boys down the hall at the dorm, Drew (Derek Carter) and Abdul (Amir Talai), are much more welcoming. They invite Joan and Barri to a party, where the ladies enjoy Jell-O shots (unaware of the liquor involved), play spin the bottle and do some spontaneous making out with very young men.
Cheryl Hines, who plays Larry David’s wife on HBO’s mostly improvised series, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” is an executive producer of “Campus Ladies.” Ms. Hines, who was once in the Groundlings comedy troupe with Ms. Sussin and Ms. Aizley, has said that the new show is largely improvised too.
I’d love to know who came up with one particular line in the premiere episode. Abdul, who is from Iran, doesn’t offer to help with the women’s heavy luggage at first but quickly realizes his error. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking,” he says. “Back home, you would carry our bags.”
In true college student form, the ladies also have their own blog.