Carly’s Depression is back for another season with a relatively solid, albeit somewhat disappointing, first episode.

It opens on the lead, Carly, hunched in the fridge’s dim light and squirting mustard from an almost-empty bottle directly onto suspicious deli meat. Combined with the dramatic lighting, the bottle spattering and sputtering the yellowish spread makes for a jarringly realistic mise-en-scène.

Despite the strong start, the episode quickly falls into cliche depression troupes, especially when we see Carly’s small studio apartment. Her bedside is lined with dirty dishes and half-consumed water glasses, forcing the space itself to ask a question: why wouldn’t she just bring the dishes to the sink? It’s all the same room. Besides, even if the sink wasn’t a few steps away, we see a plethora of shots of her at the fridge. So, viewers are well-aware she’ll be traveling the short distance to her kitchenette frequently, making the mess a bit unbelievable.

Notably absent from the episode: her best friend Jake. He was a staple throughout last season, but we felt some tension between the two in the final episodes. Not of a sexual nature of course. Carly’s anti-depressants prevent that from being a possibility. Rather, the tension was found in his overly supportive nature clashing with her reclusive tendencies. The last scene he was in last season involved him asking Carly if she’s tried yoga.

Overall, there is some character growth. Last season, she frequently told sub-par suicide jokes around her co-workers. They never landed, making for clearly uncomfortable conversation bombs. This season, it’s clear that humor is still her main coping mechanism. However, she’s found a way to cling to it that won’t result in HR violations: repeatedly turns to the popular Facebook page “Depression Memes for Mind Beans.”

It’s nice to see Carly get a little better. However, her deep sense of self-hatred seems to be missing. Seeing as self-sabotage was a main driver for many of last season’s plot points (her iconic and frequently quoted Twitter rants, incoherently yelling Tracy Chapman lyrics while blacked out a company function), they are sorely missed.

Even with her growth, she’s clearly still a flawed hero. This is especially seen through her overuse of dry shampoo. In this woke culture, can we really condone something so bad for the environment?

Perhaps, the dry shampoo is a metaphor. Her brain is full of toxins which keep her from taking actual showers. So, she unloads external toxins onto her head to make it look like she’s showered. The catch being she’s also unloading those toxins into the atmosphere.

A common theme throughout the episode is hearing Carly bemoan how her employer-provided health insurance and they make it nearly impossible to find a therapist. This is beaten over the head a bit with several shots of her at work, staring at a poster that says “Talk to Someone.” She does several searches, only to find psychologists who aren’t taking on new patients. Of course, Carly takes that personally. When she finally does get an appointment, she cancels it due to a previous appointment with her bed.

One final note: the soundtrack leaves more to be desired. Throughout the lengthy episode, Carly repeatedly listens to the same musical theater number: “I Don’t Care Much” from Cabaret (the 1998 Alan Cumming version, not the Original Cast Recording). While repetition can be a powerful tool, 18 times in a row with no respite is far too on the nose. This leaves many wary of the rumored musical episode.

Overall, Carly’s Depression gets 3/5 stars.

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