I was first introduced to Whitney Cummings during the 2009 Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers. During the roast, I found myself asking the same question that many of the other participating roasters were jokingly asking: "Who the f@#k is Whitney Cummings?"
Cummings certainly made her mark that evening when she got up to the podium and absolutely slayed everybody on the dais, sparing no one from her jokes about things far too vulgar to mention on this website. A year later her comedy special, Money Shot, proved to be equally side-splitting, with much of her humor focused on the differences between men and women and on gender roles in society. Of course, being a woman herself she does a perfect (and hilarious) job of highlighting the particular brand of crazy that us ladies bring to our relationships. Because of this, I was excited to see her in action on her own sitcom based around these very themes.
Whitney made its official television debut last week, and while the Cummings brand of comedy ran strongly throughout, whether it's enough to overcome the political-correctness of an NBC sitcom airing during primetime is yet to be determined.
Nothing too groundbreaking happened on the premiere, which can probably be said about most series. The pilot, titled Spicing Things Up, served solely as a way to establish the bare bones of the show's concept. Whitney and her boyfriend, Alex (Chris D'Elia), have been in a relationship for three years. Neither is really into the idea of marriage (in fact, Whitney is terrified by it because of her parents' multiple divorces), but they both really like each other. Or hate each other? Honestly, it was hard to tell. The first fifteen minutes of the episode are basically the two making scathing comments to each other, and the last six minutes is them being really cute and cuddly after Whitney's ploy to spice up the couple's sex life lands Alex in the ER with a concussion.
Bear in mind, pilots are often shaky affairs. Characters haven't been developed, the budgets are minimal and plotlines are still in their infancy. While it's unclear what exact direction it will take, the overarching theme of the show seems to center around the pros and cons of long-term, committed relationships as well as how to combat the "relationship boredom" that can plague them.
Sidebar: Can we lose the laugh track, NBC? It was legitimately the first thing I noticed about the show, and it was super distracting. It's hard for humor to happen organically when there's a laugh track in the background constantly telling you what's funny before you have a chance to decide on your own.
All fake laugh tracks aside, Whitney Cummings is a hilarious comedian. The themes in her standup routines are ones that everybody can relate to, which is why the humor resonates so loudly. But whether those themes will appear fresh and funny or played out and cliché when transferred to the cookie-cutter format of a 20 minute sitcom is yet to be determined.
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