Whitney is hands down the most dreadful new show of the fall. There's really not even a question about that at all. We considered compiling a list of the worst moments from the pilot, but that would've been only one line long -- "every single excruciating second" -- and would've felt like a cop-out. So we sat through the first episode again (we're totally scarred for life now, thanks for asking) to pinpoint the show's exact problems.
Laugh Track/Live Studio Audience
According to a voiceover by Whitney at the start of the episode, this show is filmed in front of a live studio audience, but we absolutely refuse to believe that it has not been enhanced in some way. It's either that or there's a steady stream of nitrous oxide being pumped in there to keep those people laughing at all the lame clunkers that are being passed off as jokes.
While we enjoy her brand of humor in her stand-up act, her abrasive style doesn't really translate to TV. Her racy humor has been watered down so much that it's unrecognizable. The result is a character who is so unlikeable, it makes us wonder how she has any friends at all. And she really makes no sense -- she's seemingly smart and sarcastic, yet eats cupcakes that were clearly part of a wedding cake and also apparently has never thought about the fact that hospital beds are too tiny for two people. Or that maybe you shouldn't sleep with the guy who just had a concussion because of you. Or that if you are going to get laser hair removal, you should do your upper lip as well so you don't have to have awkward bathroom encounters with your significant other.
We're supposed to feel sorry for him, right? But we don't really get him. He's sold his internet company for what (judging by their apartment) seems to be a decent payoff, but he isn't all that bright either, falling down repeatedly because he succumbed to the charms of a scantily clad woman.
The Gang of Friends
Whitney has a cutesy friend couple who make her (and us) want to vomit on a regular basis. She has another sassy single friend who is a bitter divorcée and hates dating. And then there's a skeezy guy friend who makes rude comments about women and sex in general. This is like the island of misfit toys. They must have all become friends because no one else would want to spend any time around them.
Let's watch Whitney drop her phone. Let's watch Alex hit his head. Let's watch them fall out of bed. Or let's not... and say we did.
While shows like House (well, back in the day at least) also feature a curmudgeonly lead, at least they are balanced out by characters who we can root for. Or we can at least absolve them because they're brilliant and doing good work, like saving lives. But Whitney is appalling, and last we checked, photographing people for blogs didn't exactly save lives. Also, everyone around her is an obnoxious cliché: Her mom is a shrill lady who has been divorced multiple times and only wants her daughter to get married in order to get some extra money when she and her husband break up. Alex, as we've mentioned, isn't exactly a genius and he seems to truly like Whitney, so he's clearly got no sense. And all of her friends are horrible and the show only serves to point out their flaws. While Mark could be the Barney of the group, he comes off as scummy instead of endearingly horny.
They all talk about sex. A lot. And we're not prudes or anything -- in fact we love shows that have inappropriate sexual conversations. But here, it's more of the "we're not having sex because you're tired" stuff that we've seen on sitcoms for years. And Whitney's awkward sexy get-ups and attempts at being remotely alluring wore thin before we ever saw them on the show, thanks to the ubiquitous promos.
So, we've already got our quota filled of not-that-funny shows about a group of friends that we already watch (HIMYM, we're looking at you), we've got more than our fair share of lead characters that we find insufferable (coughMeredithGreycough) and if we want to see ridiculous sex scenarios, we'll just tune in to Gigolos. Plus, frankly, we'd rather watch Malcolm in the Middle reruns to remember when Jane Kaczmarek wasn't in something so appallingly terrible. That means the first episode of Whitney will probably be the last one we ever watch. But cheer up, Ms. Cummings: we've got your superior 2 Broke Girls season-passed.
Would Whitney be a better show without the laugh track? The Morning After reveals the truth in this video:
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