Whitney Debuts With Forced Laughter & Possible Rape Joke


NBC has been heavily promoting Whitney Cummings’ new sitcom, Whitney, and last night we got to see what all the hubbub was about. The show centers around Whitney and her boyfriend Alex. They’ve have been together three years, but Whitney is not interested in getting married because there’s been so much divorce in her family. This first episode dealt with Whitney and Alex’s sex life — or lack thereof — and in the scene above, Whitney wants to know why they’re not “tapping this” more often. Reminiscing about their second anniversary, Whitney asks, “We did something good last year, right?” Alex replies: “Yeah, you tool Tylenol PM. In the AM.” Whitney’s comeback: “I mixed up the bottles. And as I recall, you still had sex with me.” While she was unconscious? Or just in a fuzzy drug-induced haze? Oh, NBC, you crazy line-toer, you.

Whitney attempts to find something sexy to wear, and discovers that the options in her underwear drawer are Spanx, a sports bra and a hammer. For some reason, this seems funny to me now… But it didn’t while I was watching the show. The laugh track is part of the problem. Whitney is taped in front of a live audience, but I suspect that the producers are using sweetening to punctuate the jokes, which were very broad, not very fresh and sort of forced.

The biggest problem with Whitney so far? It’s just not that funny. It seems like she’s supposed to be the type who makes a mess of everything, but unlike say, I Love Lucy, her constant faux pas are not high-stakes enough, and her boyfriend doesn’t seem that frustrated with her. In fact, both characters seem vaguely apathetic and bland. There’s no sparkling wit or freaky weirdness or intense neuroses to grab a viewer right off the bat. A pilot episode has the burden of introducing you to folks, hoping you’ll want to hang out with them every week. But Whitney and Alex aren’t welcoming, alluring or entertaining enough to make me want to commit. It’s tough, because as a single woman under 40, I imagine I’m the target audience for Whitney, and I would hate for NBC (or any network) to think that women don’t want to watch women, or that female-centric sitcoms don’t work. But when it comes right down to it, I just didn’t like Whitney. Or Whitney.

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