Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I Try To See Things "Whitney's Way", But Can't

For some reason, NBC seems to be putting the most of it's faith in this new sitcom, Whitney. I've seen promos for it back and forth on reruns of the Thursday night comedies, the same esteemed lineup it will be joining on September 22. There have been copious print ads and billboards sporting attempts at clever relationship banter. All of it written in simple, bold purple and grey lettering over white and the same stock images of star and comedienne Whitney Cummings and co-star Chris D'Elia.

Of course, there's already backlash against this show. There are plentiful mock-up ads parodying the afore-mentioned print campaign. Today's edition of The Morning After went over these spoofs, a lot of them in response to the watered-down version of the stand-up Cummings is known for. And below is a particularly biting fan-made video outright dissing the show. (And just a warning, this video does have some mature content.)

Now, this all comes off a case of complaining about shows you don't watch. It really doesn't seem fair. But, I also must admit that the above video was pretty funny.

Furthermore, a lot of this response isn't completely unwarranted.

This is a world where NBC, a free-to-air network can offer a truly unique sitcom like Community. That's a show that crams a zombie infestation Halloween episode and a stop-motion Christmas episode into the same season. It topped the first season's epic paintball episode with an even more epic paintball match that only ups the ante as a two-part finale. And they still have time to fit in truly relateable character bits, parody sitcom convention left and right (with faux clip show, no less), and make a bottle episode where the cast plays Dungeons and Dragons seem epic.

On the other hand, Whitney just seems quaint. And when I say "quaint", that's only the best scenario. I hesitate to even call it "conventional", since all the major network comedies save for CBS don't follow the four-cameras, a soundstage and a live audience model anymore. This just serves as a standard relationship comedy, coming on top of at least three more at midseason and one in the fall remaking a British series.

The standard-issue sitcom centered as a vehicle for a stand-up comic is more like something out of the 90's. Jerry Seinfeld hit it big with his own aggressively unconventional sitcom, following up on Roseanne Barr and leading into Tim Allen, Drew Carey and Ray Romano having their own respective shows. But mind you, all of those comics had something to offer in their shows.

From the looks of things, Whitney just seems without any really strong material to spare. More than anything else, it will enter the new season with the same critical-panning weight as Hank did in 2009 or $h*! My Dad Says did last year. The latter lasted up until February and ended there, but the former was in worse state, premiering alongside superior shows like Modern Family, The Middle, and Cougar Town, ergo bombing hard.

I will also add this --  Later on this week, I will look at another comedy called 2 Broke Girls, premiering on CBS. Our emcee for this show, Whitney Cummings is actually one of the creators of that. I will go into more detail then, but I'll just say that while it's surprisingly broad in regards to tone and delivery, it looks 100 times funnier than Whitney.

I know it seems unusual considering what I said, but...Lynx:
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