“The Chair” Review

Show creator Amanda Peet tells the story of a woman who gets hired to save a college english department from falling apart


Having loved many of Sandra Oh’s shows in the past, such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Killing Eve,” my expectations for “The Chair” were high. Especially since there was an overwhelming amount of positive feedback on this show. I wanted to love it, but was sadly disappointed by its execution.

“The Chair” is based on a college English department that is falling apart. Sandra Oh, who plays Ji-Yoon Kim, is brought in as chair of the department to help lift the department back on its feet. She is also the first woman and person of color to take this job. Along the way she faces many obstacles that challenge her morals. Kim is an approachable and optimistic person. She is constantly trying to please others, which often comes back to haunt her, as she loses focus on her goals while trying to solve everyone else’s problems.

The only characters that kept me interested were Kim and Professor Joan Hambling, played by Holland Taylor.I felt their characters were realistically represented in a witty way. There were multiple times where one of Hambling’s quips got me to crack a smile in this otherwise bland show.

As far as my least favorite character goes, that would have to be the intolerable man-child that goes by the name Professor Bill Dobson, played by Jay Duplass. I doubt there  was one time throughout the show where I believed him to be an actual professor that students looked up to. Aside from the fact that he barely displayed any evidence of professor-level knowledge, Dobson’s evolution was illogical and abrupt, as he was mourning his wife in one episode and confessing his love for Kim in the next.

As for the other characters, none of them had as significant of an impact as I had hoped. Oh and Taylor aside, I think the casting of this show could have been improved, as many of the actors and actresses did not match up with their characters, making the show feel unnatural.

While the casting was definitely off in certain areas, I think that the storyline also contributed to my lack of interest, as its pace was slow and uninteresting. The plot itself was pretty basic, so there wasn’t much for the characters to work with.

A severe flaw in this show is Kim and Dobson’s love story, which isn’t made clear from the start. Viewers never find out about their past history, thus making their relationship confusing and hard to believe. Adding to this unclarity, Oh and Duplass lack strong chemistry, furthermore devaluing their relationship. 

The show attempts inclusivity through humor, but ultimately misses the mark. There were many parts of this series that were almost painful to watch, as the jokes were randomly inappropriate and gave me secondhand embarrassment for many of the characters. 

Overall, this show failed to live up to its reputation. I would not recommend this show to any younger viewers, as the majority of the cast is on the older side, making it unrelatable in many aspects. I feel like this show is only appealing to those who can relate to that lifestyle, which I can not. As a result, I personally give this show two out of five stars.