Tracey Ullman's State of the Union : Season 1

  • Network: Showtime
  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 30, 2008
Season #: 1, 2, 3

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16

Critic Reviews

  1. Vulgar and brazenly racy, it's unlike anything else on TV.
  2. Her comic style is familiar, but much of Ms. Ullman’s material is fresh and up-to-date.
  3. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    At least within Ullman's cutting overview of America, in fact, it can be reported without reservation that the "State of the Union" is strong.
  4. The fantastic Ms. Ullman is as funny as ever, depicting a new slew of characters in sketches that mock the way we are.
  5. 80
    The beautifully filmed half-hour comedy, lets Ullman clown around with her face and her voices and her wigs without confining her to too much story line.
  6. The episodes, each supposedly one day in the life of America, should leave viewers squirming, not just with laughter at the failings they portray, but with anticipation that Ullman and Showtime will hurry up and make some more.
  7. 75
    Though fun, the opener's skits are too short, and the characters too numerous, for any one joke to register. But give the show a week to settle, and the strengths of Ullman's concept come to the fore.
  8. It's a showcase for Ullman's remarkable skill, but it is done too fast for the comedy to percolate. We barely have time to figure out who the character is before there's another one. And another. Things are better in succeeding episodes.
  9. 70
    As with any sketch show, it’s all ultimately a hit-and-miss affair, but Ullman’s circus-freak virtuosity as a shape shifter-- and director Troy Miller’s rapid-fire pacing--are enough to carry you past the rough spots.
  10. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    A sharp if uneven Whitmanian sampler.
  11. Entertainment Weekly
    Reviewed by: Clark Collins
    Many of the sketches are not funny per se--but some are not meant to be. [28 Mar 2008, p.63]
  12. 63
    I don't know why Tracey Ullman's State of the Union isn't funny. Maybe it's just that the whole thing comes across as too jaded, or maybe impersonating and skewering people also requires that the comic walk the fine line between funny and cruel. And honestly, cruel stops well short of knee-slapper.
  13. Not surprisingly, given the scope of the show, some topics are nailed brilliantly--Chanel, the airport security agent, is perhaps among the greatest TV characters in recent history, and the adoption of an American child by an African actress is equally hilarious--while others, like local newscaster Alvarez or the pregnant senior citizen, are flat and trite or flat and weird.
  14. For all the show's missteps, there's always Ullman's undeniable talent to entertain. Her parodies of women (e.g. Renee Zellweger, playing a movie character who suffers from "chronic narcissistic squint") generally succeed better than her men.
  15. Which isn’t to say that State of the Union is merely wicked fun, mean games, and goofy looks. Ullman’s America needs work.
  16. 40
    We know Ullman has range. What this Union needs is focus.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 8
  2. Negative: 4 out of 8
  1. allysont
    Apr 14, 2009
    Not funny, mean spirited, and boring. I was very surprised, I wanted to like it.
  2. [Anonymous]
    Apr 21, 2008
    I just do not find it at all funny....a laugh or two at best.,but I liked her old show characters much better. This show is flat.
  3. AlP.
    Apr 11, 2008
    I wanted to like it, watched first two weeks. This show needs to be put out of it's misery.