• Fri, Sep 23 2011

Ladies Be Filmin’: NBC’s Whitney

The fall TV season is underway and, despite the ever-lower numbers of women in the writers’ rooms, it’s being hailed as the year of the women: 17 out of the 25 new scripted shows on the Big Five networks are female-centered and many were created by women. In this series, comedian Leila Cohan-Miccio watches the new female-centered shows and evaluates how realistic their portrayals of women actually are. Up now, the week’s second Whitney Cummings sitcom, Whitney.

First things first: while Whitney has a lot of problems, it is, blessedly, nowhere near as bad as the godawful advertising campaign (brilliantly discussed at Splitsider and parodied by Best Week Ever) indicated. Sure, there are a lot of hacky jokes about gender (it’s funny when people act like the opposite gender from what they are!) and sure, the laugh track is grating, but I didn’t hate it nearly as much as I thought I would.

If that sounds like damning with faint praise, yeah. It is. Here’s some more! As Whitney’s boyfriend, Chris D’Elia is extremely charming and funny and he and Cummings have good chemistry (apparently, they’re real life friends, which is nice). I chuckled a few times and laughed once. Jonathan from 30 Rock is on the show! Unlike Jess on New Girl, at least Whitney seems like a grown woman who is aware of sex. That’s about the sum of the nice things I can say — I didn’t hate Whitney, but I didn’t much like it either.

At the end of it all, Whitney just isn’t that interesting. I suspect this isn’t necessarily Whitney Cummings’ fault. I have nothing but respect for a woman who got two shows on TV on the same season (I currently have zero shows on TV, so.). I quite liked her other show, 2 Broke Girls, and, while her stand-up isn’t my thing, it’s also not the generic drivel happening on Whitney. I can imagine a world where the first few drafts of this pilot were really funny and it just got watered down to appeal to as many people as possible. Trouble is, that may mean it’s so broad that it doesn’t really appeal to anyone.

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