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Whitney Cummings’ biggest mistake here may have been letting NBC make her show a multi-camera affair, complete with (yet another) overly generous live audience.
Cumming’s stock in trade is sass that traffics both in smart banter and low-brow crowd-pleasing. Which means that some of the lines she wrote for Whitney work and others seem all-too-easy. It’s hard to tell how much NBC actually trusts Cummings (who also co-created 2 Broke Girls on CBS). She’s a newbie and it looks like the reins are still on. For example, the pilot actually has a clever scene that follows up on the notion that Whitney and her live-in boyfriend Alex (Chris D’Elia) have grown sexually stagnant over their years together. So she buys a slutty nurse costume to surprise him and then, while vamping, makes it all too real by asking for his insurance card and asking him to fill out forms. The scene works right up until Alex does a typical sitcom pratfall taking his pants off and knocks himself out.
PHOTOS: NBC’s New Season TV Shows
A lot of the success of Whitney may hinge on whether people find her likeable or not. But there are fundamental issues holding back the show as well — beyond the multi-camera fakeness of it all. First, the premise seems to be that Whitney and Alex aren’t married and they’re happy that way.
Apparently there is no and. Toss in stock characters (happy new lovers; the bitter divorcee; the super horny single guy) that try to play up Whitney and Alex’s shocking dismissal of convention (ahem), and you’ve got a relationship show that’s hung on the “we’re not married” nail.
Maybe that’s why they need that audience cackling in the background? Hopefully, future episodes will improve.
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