Stand-up comedians have provided a healthy portion of network programming. Television executives are always scouring for the next "Seinfeld." Other successful series based on stand-up acts include "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Louie," which recently won an Emmy for Best Comedy Writing. The latest comedian to hit it big is Whitney Cummings, who had two shows debut on last year's fall slate. Cummings co-created ABC's "2 Broke Girls" with Michael Patrick King, the creator of "Sex and the City." She's also the star, writer, and executive producer of the self-titled "Whitney" on NBC.
Whitney plays a fictionalized version of herself. Instead, of a comedian, she is a professional photographer sharing a Chicago apartment with her boyfriend, Alex (Chris D'Elia). The two are in a committed relationship, but neither feels the need to get married. The supporting cast consists of Whitney's friends: Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn), a bitter divorcee who loves to drink, and Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones), a former party girl now engaged to the buttoned down Neal (Maulik Pancholy). There's also Alex's best friend, Mark (Dan O'Brien), a chauvinistic police officer.
Much of the comedy revolves around Whitney's awkward attempts to keep her relationship fresh. In the pilot, she dresses as a sexy nurse only to ruin the fantasy by forcing Alex to fill out paperwork. Whitney's stand-up act deals with a lot of sex, but since the show is in a sanitized primetime slot, don't expect anything risqué.
Whitney herself is an acquired taste. She is a loud woman with the volume consistently at eleven with no ups or downs. The humor is rather bland with a few amusing gags every once and a while. The supporting cast is broadly depicted and their standalone sub-plots are the weakest element of the series. Other NBC sitcoms are shot as single cameras ("30 Rock") or documentary style ("The Office," "Parks and Recreation"), yet "Whitney" is done in a traditional format. This is a multi-camera comedy filmed in front of a live studio audience. The laugh track annoyingly punctuates just about every line whether it was funny or not.
Universal has released the first season of "Whitney" in a 3-disc set. The episodes include:
- "Pilot" – Whitney's attempts at spicing up her relationship inadvertently send Alex to the emergency room.
- "First Date" – Alex is left confused when Whitney desires to recreate the first date experience.
- "Silent Treatment" – Whitney gives Alex the silent treatment when she catches him looking at another woman.
- "A Decent Proposal" – Neal and Lily announce their engagement while Whitney and Alex try to be more romantic than the other.
- "The Wire" – Whitney and Mark set up surveillance to prove Alex can be condescending.
- "Two Broke-Up Girls" – Whitney tries to get the guys back together when Alex and Mark break up as friends.
- "Getting to Know You" – A double date with Roxanne leads to Whitney discovering more of Alex's past.
- "Clarence" – Alex and Whitney look to adopt a dog, but find the shelter administrator is prejudiced against unmarried couples.
- "Up All Night" – Whitney sees a therapist (Chelsea Handler) due to her anxiety over being chosen as Lily's maid of honor.
- "Christmas is Cummings" – Whitney and Alex hope to avoid their families for Christmas until Whitney's parents (Jane Kaczmarek & Peter Gallagher) drop by for a surprise visit.
- "Private Parts" – Whitney is upset to find Alex has password protected his phone as she believes it is a sign of distrust.
- "Faking It" – Whitney pretends to enjoy all the duties of planning a wedding for Lily's sake.
- "Codependence Day" – Whitney gets a new job as Roxanne's assistant and her primary responsibility is spying on co-workers.
- "Mind Games" – John Cleese guest-stars as a couples' therapist who assigns strange exercises designed to strengthen Whitney and Alex's relationship.
- "Lance!" – When Roxanne's ex-husband comes back to town, Whitney does her best to prove he hasn't changed.
- "48 Hours" – In a flashback episode, Alex regales his friends with the tale of how he first met Whitney.
- "Mad Women" – Whitney gets more than she bargained for after purchasing a new bust enhancing bra.
- "Homeland Security" – Alex is shocked when Whitney abandons him during a mugging and wonders what else she'll run away from.
- "The Ex Box" – Whitney confronts Alex when she discovers he's hung onto a box of keepsakes from an ex-girlfriend.
- "The G Word" – Whitney and Alex check up on Neal following his break-up with Lily.
- "Something Old, Something New" – Alex drunkenly proposes marriage to Whitney while Lily and Roxanne work on their respective love lives.
- "Something Black, Something Blue" – Whitney and Alex head to city hall to get married, but the universe seems to be against them
The video is presented in anamorphic widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The DVDs feature a slick presentation with a sharp transfer. Picture quality is clean with bold colors.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound is evenly placed with dialogue coming off crisp and clear.
The majority of bonus features are found on disc 3. Series stars Whitney Cummings and Chris D'Elia provide commentary tracks for the episodes "Homeland Security" and "Something Old, Something New." There's also a gag reel.
All three discs include deleted scenes from select episodes.
Gene Siskel once said, "If you don't think it's sexy or funny, there's no way I can change your mind." That quote definitely applies to Whitney Cummings. You either find her funny or not. Those that are already fans of her act will enjoy the show. However, "Whitney" won't convert the uninterested.