So far, everything we've seen from Stephen Merchant's upcoming new comedy series Hello Ladies indicates a decidedly awkward brand of humor for the Office co-creator's character, a man in desperate search for romance. In fact, The Office (the original U.K. series) came to mind when watching the full trailer for Hello Ladies, as there's an almost David Brent-ish quality about Merchant's character, which may have to do with his lack of self awareness. Or perhaps it was just a glimmer of Ricky Gervais' bumbling boss-act when he chastised those men on the sidewalk for speaking crassly "in front of the ladies." But based on the trailer, I have a feeling we're going to sympathize a bit more with Merchant for his social awkwardness than we did with David Brent for all his camera mugging.
Created by Merchant, Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, Hello Ladies stars Merchant as Stuart, a guy who clearly has trouble finding romance, though it's not for lack of trying. Following up on the previously released clips, which celebrated Stuart's awkwardness, comes a more in depth look at his issues with women. Whether its unintentionally misleading responses to their conversation, simple clumsiness, or the lack of good wingmen - with Kevin Weisman's Kives and Nate Torrence's
But as the trailer indicates, he really is motivated. He's even willing to use his long legs to climb over chairs to get near a beautiful woman sitting alone at a wedding…
Too slow. Fortunately, there's a drink waiting for him in which to drown his sorrows.
As a fan of Stephen Merchant, I have high hopes that this series will be funny. Beyond that, it looks like Stuart's the kind of guy we'll want to cheer on. He strikes me as an underdog kind of character who genuinely means well but is constantly tripping over his own feet when it comes to love and romance. Maybe there's a girl out there who's doing the same thing and destined to cross paths with him.
If you haven't seen it yet, here's the official key art for Hello Ladies, which premieres September 29 at 10:30 p.m. ET on HBO.