‘Whitney’ Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 12:24 pm,

whitney nbc1 Whitney Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Proving that months of promotions don’t always result in quality programming, NBC’s forced frontrunner comedy for the new fall season, Whitney, is a terribly conceived series, which is riddled with horribly inept dialogue, poorly realized characters, and an awkward presentation of the slowly dying three-camera sitcom format.

Attempting to be the sitcom of a new generation, Whitney assumes the familiar premise of dealing with the differences between men and women in a long-term relationship – but with a twist, or edge… or whatever.

With a formulaic plot that, in and of itself, leaves much to be desired, what’s left for those looking for a new comedy series to add to their television viewing schedule is a litany of poorly acted scenes wrapped in the most inappropriate television format for the material presented.

While it can be said that many of the specific jokes in Whitney were technically funny, the use of a three camera sitcom, combined with Whitney Cummings familiar delivery from her stand-up career (that somehow made its way to everyone else in the cast), makes for a completely uncomfortable viewing experience.

Not because the jokes were “over-the-top” or “edgy” but because each punch-line was delivered so forcefully that it felt as if the actors weren’t completely behind the words that they were saying, or that it was actually funny (even if it was). This is something that was obviously felt by the ridiculously coerced live studio audience that was in attendance during the taping.

whitney series premiere Whitney Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Despite the fact that Whitney Cummings so proudly announces that the show is filmed in front of a studio audience during the title card, one has to ask themselves whether the laughter heard in the pilot came from said studio audience, or from television’s familiar laugh track.

Even if every joke came off amazingly (which they didn’t) and the studio audience laughed at each and every one of them, it’s hard to believe that they would have responded with the same boisterous laughter that annoyingly remained throughout. Speaking as someone who has heard rough cuts of sitcoms filmed in front of a studio audience, I can honestly said that I’ve never heard this type of raucous laughter. While I’m not saying Whitney used canned laughter, there’s some audible shenanigans afoot.

That being said, the problem with Whitney is not that the audience laughter sounds fakes OR that the actors are delivering a terrible performance OR that the general thematic tone of the series is poorly defined. The real problem is that, for all intents and purposes, Whitney is trying to shove material best suited for a single camera comedy in a three camera sitcom environment.

whitney cummings whitney nbc Whitney Series Premiere Review & Discussion

While that’s not generally a bad thing – or something that cannot be done – it’s more than obvious that during the development of the series, the appropriate planning and discussions never occurred. Instead of attempting to figure out how to evolve the quickly dying sitcom format into something that can competently present their brand of material, they more or less shoved all of their ideals into a genre that’s ill-equipped to handle it.

At times, one often wants to play the “pilot card” when certain series come off as overtly rough and disjointed in their first episode – and, in this instance, there’s some room to say that things may get better as the series progresses. Perhaps not as much room as the series creators would hope, but it’s there none the less.

Of course, even if Whitney does get better, there’s still going to be one question that many viewers will be asking themselves: why did NBC cancel Outsourced for this?

Why, indeed.


Whitney airs Thursdays @9:30pm on NBC

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

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  1. so far, my husband i have not laughed once during the show. the “live studio audience” is abrasive and it makes me feel like it’s so NOT FUNNY that they had to put canned laughter in. yuck. everything about this show sucks.

    • The show is awsome…. never miss a show….

  2. I like her on Chelsea lately and was hoping for the best but the show wasn’t funny at all. Some of the jokes were funny but the actors just aren’t good. It’s definitely like watching a high school improv class. And the engaged best friend?? The worst acting of the group, I’m not sure if she’s just overplaying the obnoxious best friend role or if she actually just is that obnoxious…

  3. I agree completely with this review; and if they are trying to attract the twenty-something males they will need to drop the blond with the man voice.

  4. These old-style sitcoms are dead in the water anymore. This show, though I wanted to like it, is stale no matter how many cameras they have. It sucks because I’m sure she worked hard to get to this point, but without a serious makeover, this will be a short-lived venture.

  5. I was reading that Beverly D’Angelo was actually on the show as the mother. Guess she jumped off the boat before it sailed off to sink, or she was just too funny and exposed the rest of the cast too much.

  6. I was a huge fan of Outsourced and am very sad and disappointed to see that it has been replaced by this flop.

  7. Great Review! I was wondering if I was alone in thinking this show was HIDEOUS!

    I also think 2 Broke Girls was bad. The 2nd episode was even worse. Too many awkward moments where my boyfriend and I actually looked at eachother in an uncomfortable silence!

    Up All Night – another bad one, not quite as bad as the other two but still…

    Any new shows out there that are decent or will they wise up and bring back Outsourced?!

    • Whitney is painful. I just don’t get it. So glad I am not alone…Up All Night is hillarious. Maya Rudolph and Christina Applegate are great. It cracks me up.

    • if you looked at your boyfriend in uncomfortable silence, maybe you should turn off the tv and have some real interaction. too many of you putzes are wanting a show to define ypur lives and not accept this for what it is….. entertainment. if you want high brow stuff, go to Broadway. in the meantime, Cummings is clever for switching the usual script. she gets to be a strong woman, if abrasive and inappropriate, but her male partner ends up pointing out her faults( this is usually the opposite in most shows). It’s a show where everyone gets to be alittle bit of a hero, and it IS funny. Very funny.

      • Oh surprise, someone acting elitist. This show is not funny. It’s not funny at all. It’s incredibly sexist, over the top, poorly acted, poorly written, forced, and poorly conceived. It’s watered down sh*t that reinforces bad stereotypes we already know, rather than trying to layer the characters in any way or challenge viewers. We’re not looking for a “show to define our lives”, we know that this is a comedy show. But for comedy standards, this show fails on every single level… for us.

      • Jon how long have you worked for NBC?

  8. I have seen part of whitney and THE SHOW SUCKS! It’s lame, and its forced humor and typical male bashing format make this show a loser! NBC needs to TAKE THIS CRAP OFF THE AIR!

  9. There are not many new shows that I have found funny anymore. I LOVE Whitney though. I laugh a lot every time it is on! People who don’t like it must have BAD taste! I hope Whitney will be on for years to come!

  10. Also, my husband and I have related to some of the episodes and what the couple are going through….He loved it too and we both think it is one of the funniest shows out there right now!

  11. In ref to Selena comment – Selena Quintanilla was queen of the Chicanos – literally – she was seriously huge and very well loved – and one of the most ravishing beauties to have ever lived. Young Selena is a beautiful young woman as well – but was named after the original – should learn your audience before a dish like you put on our queen.

  12. Ok here goes. The first couple of episodes were mediocre. I was very sad because I really like Whitney and the promos looked promising. But guess what folks as the weeks have passed the show has gotten really funny and the supporting characters are really starting to develop. I still don’t think it’s great, but it could lead to something……

  13. This show is great. While it may not be Friends or too intellectually demanding it is highly entertaining. It is one of the few shows that actually makes me laugh…comparing it to other comedies these days it is on top…I would certainly recommend. Good acting, natural interaction, nothing forced. Good jokes.