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‘Whitney”…..All Bathwater, No Baby….

In Television on October 19, 2011 at 9:30 pm

‘Correct me if I’m wrong-but it’s like you’re batshit crazy!’

I watched the first three episodes of this show in deference to the Whitney Cummings I knew from the Howard Stern Show, Chelsea Lately, and various Comedy Central Roasts.

Unfortunately- I could find only traces of that  Whitney in her very formula-tic new show.  I envisioned the sit-down meetings that Whitney must have had with the NBC ‘suits’ while the show was still in negotiation.. the ‘suits’ suggesting every sitcom cliche they had in their overflowing briefcases, and Whitney, doubting her better judgement and first instincts, afraid of offending them (and losing the ‘deal’)  instead saying ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ to most of them. Sitting still  while they trimmed the very ‘edge’ off her comedy, and molded it into the cookie-cutter sitcom that it is. Anxious to cash that fat check and be somebody! Unfortunately, well behaved women rarely make history- or good comedy.

The first thing that struck me as a thumbs-down, was the awful canned laughter. I don’t care what anyone from the show says- that is not a studio audience. There may be a studio audience-technically-but the laughter we’re hearing is as canned as Hank Williams, Jr. after a Hitler reference. I think this is why Whitney says: ‘Whitney is filmed before a studio audience-ya heard me!’-before each show- because she knows, we know, she’s twisting the truth. The fake laughter is applied with a heavy hand, and only punctuates how lame and warmed-over the shows jokes are.

Most of the cast  appear to be in their very late 20’s (I’m being generous) to mid-thirties, yet- they have the sensibilities of kids in  junior high. In one of the shows, Whitney decides she wants to have a ‘real’ first date (since her and her boyfriend hooked up on a drunken one night stand… ooh! Risque!) thus she orchestrates this ridiculous ‘plan’- wherein her boyfriend must ‘woo’ her with a date- a date where they will ‘pretend’ not to know each other.

Not only is this a weak premise-but somehow her boyfriend and all of HIS  friends become completely wrapped up in this bullshiz-discussing it incessantly and taking it way too seriously. In fact, the men in this series sit around and cluck like hens- all they do is talk about their girlfriends, and the odd behaviors of women in general 24/7! They yap like it’s 11am and they’re on the View! I find myself saying  (out-loud!) ‘Man Up!! For God Sakes! Have you ever heard of football, worked on a car or even been around other men?’

The ‘First Date’ plot progresses to the point where Whitney is now ‘single for the night’ barring her mate from sleeping in his own home that evening. (Who does this? Who even has the time? What adults are running around like adolescent girls, ‘testing’ their relationships with embarrassingly immature head games of this nature?)

I found myself plotting back angrily: ‘OK- if we’re going there-then how about this: Whitney’s boyfriend, banned from his own house for not presenting Whitney with a satisfying, ‘fake’ first date- spends the night in a casino, where he gets shiz-faced drunk, bets away their joint savings and sleeps with a hooker who gifts him with an STD, which he later accidentally gifts Whitney with when he’s finally let back in. Mean? Yes! But I am insulted that this show thinks I’m an idiot! (and by the way: my premise is way more ‘Whitney’ than Whitney’s own show is! Listen to her stand-up, or watch her roast someone if you doubt me!)

“If you really loved me, you’d play my never-ending, little-girl head games!”

There is a scene in another episode where Whitney decides to ‘dress sexy’ to try and win over the man she already lives with (*sigh*) so she proceeds to don a tight shirt and some shorts, along with – inexplicably!- roller skates. She then ‘rolls’ down to her building’s lobby (where her boyfriend just happens to be) and tries to ‘sensuously’ skate to her mail-box. In a ‘bet -you- can’t- guess’ turn of events,  clumsiness ensues, and there  she is- pretzel- twisted into unflattering poses, while her man (and the camera) zeros in to Whit’s dismay. Yuk,yuk, yuk!. I can only wonder how far this I-Love-Lucy schtick-ness is going to go? How long before she mails herself to someone, or starts schilling Vita-Vita Vegamin?  If this is supposed to be funny, then Whitney’s got some ‘splainin to do!

Whitney’s also supposed to be a photographer, from what I can tell from the photog’s umbrella and camera equipment strewn about the couple’s apartment. (Though no one is ever at work, of course) I don’t know what kind of photographer Whitney is, but I’ll take a crack at it. Perhaps a wedding photographer- the kind who incorporates scrabble tiles and candy hearts to spell out ‘save-the-date?’ Or maybe she specializes in black and white ‘glamour’ shots featuring pregnant women’s bellies, due date scrawled in (non-toxic) magic marker across the stretched skin, clasped on either side by Daddy’s ‘man-hands’. Facebook’s own of syrup of ipecac.

I’m two-million percent sure we are not dealing with a serious photo-journalist here.

Other episode themes include: Dressing up in a nurse’s outfit for sex in order to ‘spice things up’ in which they end up at the emergency room via slapstick hi- jinx (YAWN!) and the staging of another all-out attack on cuckolded boyfriend because he glances at-gasp! another woman!- in Starbucks (for less than two seconds!) I mean- is the guy supposed to walk around with his eyes closed?  Is Whitney that insecure that her boyfriend simply ‘seeing’ another female walking the planet earth is a threat?! This two-second glance constitutes an entire episode! Again- Whitney, all of her friends and all of the men become completely immersed in Whitney’s insecurity, discussing it ad-nauseam!

The only thing no one discusses (but should) is that Whitney’s tv character is completely neurotic, unbearably annoying , and  batshit crazy!- which, sadly, cancels out any charisma or sex-appeal she might have if she wasn’t all those things! It’s as if she is the Tin Man in the Emerald City and has yet to put in for a brain. Or maybe she has one, but it resembles one of a Twilight-loving tween, who dots her i’s with hearts and lists her religion as ‘shoes’. In fact, the whole show feels like eavesdropping on two twelve- year olds on the phone, projecting into the imagined future, where the girls are girls and so are the guys.

It’s too bad, because the real Whitney Cummings-the comedian, is edgy and funny. In such a way that didn’t apologize to anyone, and was straight-out ballsy. But now that she’s towing the NBC company line, she really does need to apologize. Not to NBC- to us.

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