Netflix’s ‘Pretty Smart’ follows Harvard-educated self-proclaimed intellectual Chelsea, who is forced to move in with her carefree sister and three eccentric roommates. Hijinx abound as the high brow Chelsea tries to work on her novel while surrounded by the bubbly group of misfits she finds herself living with.
The show has a very conducive sitcom setup, with each character channeling a personality and lifestyle that matches (or clashes!) perfectly with the rest of the gang. But could parts of the show be based on real-life? Let’s take a look at whether ‘Pretty Smart’ is based on a true story or not.
Is Pretty Smart Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Pretty Smart’ is not based on a true story. The sitcom is created and written by Jack Dolgen and Doug Mand, who are credited with an impressive roster of television comedies. The characters they have crafted for the show seem to draw on their experience of creating rich sitcom dynamics that can keep delivering laughs over multiple episodes and (potentially) seasons.
Dolgen and Mand have previously worked on the musical comedy-drama series ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ with them taking on multiple roles behind the scenes. It’s interesting to note that the central character of ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ is also an Ivy-League educated intellectual (a lawyer, in this case) who makes an unlikely move to California, much like Chelsea in ‘Pretty Smart.’ This “fish-out-of-water” setup — which takes a character and puts them in an unfamiliar environment that eventually changes their outlook — is a well-known tool used by writers.
It helps introduce audiences to a story and its characters since they, like the “out-of-water” protagonist, are also unfamiliar with the show’s setting. Some of the best shows out there, like ‘Futurama,’ ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,’ and more recently Apple’s multi-Emmy Award winning ‘Ted Lasso,’ effectively use this trope to build rich storylines and layered worlds.
The other rich area in ‘Pretty Smart’ to mine comedic gold comes, as expected, from the quirky ensemble of characters. Along with her sister Claire, Chelsea finds herself living in LA with a healer, a social media influencer, and a not-so-bright fitness trainer. This makes it possible to develop a variety of entertaining situations and dynamics between each of the characters. Considering both Dolgen and Mand were involved with ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ which had one of the most memorable ensembles of characters in recent sitcom history, it is easy to see from where ‘Pretty Smart’ partly gets its inspiration.
Like most multi-camera sitcoms, ‘Pretty Smart’ is based on fictional characters crafted to be entertaining and comedic. The show’s writer creators have previously worked together in comedy television and use some well-known tropes to set things up. The show does reference actual events and plays on present-day stereotypes like ditzy social media influencers and faux-spirituality. However, this is all done for comedic effect, and the narrative remains almost entirely fictional.
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