I’ll be honest, I didn’t intend to write about Whitney because I was embarrassed. I’m actually embarrassed that I watch a TV show. Whoever thought that would happen? I mean, there are a LOT of embarrassing shows out there. Like, who’s really watching TLC these days and admits it? But I tend to pride myself on only watching arguably “good” shows on “good” networks.
Last year, when I first heard that Whitney Cummings was creating two TV shows, I was thrilled. I loved her stand up and she just seemed like a cool person. Plus, she’s a woman in the television industry… which is practically (and pathetically) unheard of. Maybe she was a little crass, but she was honest. She reminded me of my best friend. She’s practically the spokeswoman for the generation of neurotic and overly emotional girls (myself included).
Then the shows came out. Two Broke Girls was funny, but the jokes were low brow, vulgar, racist, sexist and an all around let down. Luckily, NBC’s Whitney was an entirely different story. This time, Whitney was on camera and using major cues from her standup. The show starred six fairly unknown actors, in their late 20’s and was set in front of a live studio audience. Almost every week a popular comedian or actor makes a guest appearance, ranging from Chelsea Handler’s scornful shrink to Peter Gallagher as a Whitney’s absentee dad. It all sounds a little like Friends, right? But Whitney is just… cheesier.
Chris D’Elia plays Alex, Whitney’s boyfriend turned fiancee who responds with her many neurocies with quick witted sarcasm, a goofy smile and a flip of his greasy hair. The other four characters experience their own drama, like calling off a wedding or getting a divorce, with a veritable zany nonchalance. Though their acting chops aren’t completely honed (they’re mostly stand up comedians after all), comedic timing of this cast is spot on. Each personality is incredibly distinct, but each character helps to enhances another character’s story. It’s obvious that these actors enjoy their job and spending time with one another. They are actual friends.
Once or twice an episode, I laugh really hard. Otherwise, I’m chuckling throughout. The thing about Whitney is that whether you like it or not, you become fond of the cheesiness. You become excited for the obvious joke. There are no cliffhangers on the show, nothing that persuades you to tune in for next week, but the show does get a lot of laughs. I think that’s why people keep coming back for more.