September 24, 2011

TV: Whitney (NBC, Thu 9:30)

Standup comic Whitney Cummings stars as Whitney in yet another comedy about the friendships and romances of six friends. Whitney lives with her boyfriend Alex (Chris D'Elia), and they're about to celebrate their three-year anniversary as a couple. Lily and Neal (Zoe Lister-Jones and Maulik Pancholy) are dating; she's a pushy shrew and he's a doormat. The singles are Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn), a bitter cynic who's also a borderline alcoholic, and Mark (Dan O'Brien), who tosses off sexist one-liners as though it were 1973.

Cummings and D'Elia have some interesting chemistry, and they share the one scene in the pilot that really works -- Whitney puts on the "naughty nurse" costume to seduce Alex on their anniversary -- but the supporting characters are even more cardboard than usual. The show's filmed before a live audience, and the laughter is somehow even more obnoxious and obtrusive than a mechanical laugh track would be.

Cummings is funny enough that it might be worth looking at this one again in a month or two to see if the writers have figured out what to do with their other characters, but as it stands now, the show's unwatchable despite her.

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