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The Telefile
<I>Whitney</I>: Can the Season Finale Be the Series Finale?

Full disclosure: I watched every single episode of Whitney. Not because I liked the show, or remotely thought that it was at all good. In fact, it was terrible. Given how outrageous Whitney Cummings is as a stand-up, it was bizarre that her humor was so watered down for this series. But I think that's what kept me tuning in. It was like she was stuck in some sitcom hell of her own creation and each episode was one more car added to the 20-car pileup on the interstate that I couldn't turn away from. Why did she do this to herself? Is she a masochist? Actually, that might explain a lot. Or maybe I'm the masochist for willingly tuning in every week. No one here at work forced me, too, but since I've been accused of writing off shows too quickly after the pilot, I thought that since I like Cummings in general, I'd give this one a shot for a whole season as some sort of twisted experiment.

I'd like to say that over the course of its freshman year, the show got better, but I'm not sure that's actually true. I think my tolerance for the characters grew, and there were some kernels of ideas that ended up poorly-to-passably executed, but I don't think the show markedly improved on its initial mediocre sitcom status. The few times I did laugh, I actually felt physical pain and a little bit of nausea. I started to question my sense of humor. I even recited the jokes to my poor co-workers without telling them the source to see how they played (not well). I wondered at home if my threshold for crappy shows has increased to a point where I was hopeless enough to start watching TV Land's entire original lineup. But then I would see the latest episode of Parks & Recreation and regain my composure and taste level and remember what humor actually is. And the fact that I never made it past the first five minutes of any Are You There, Chelsea? told me I still had some ability to discern good from bad.

So, mostly for my sake, I hope that Whitney gets canceled. Because now I'm pot committed, as they say in poker circles, and I'll feel compelled to keep watching it if it returns. Yes, it's awful and yet, I really feel the need to see for myself just how awful it can truly get. And it's not even like I have time for this, much less the DVR space. And that half hour I spend watching Whitney engage in pratfalls could be better spent sleeping or learning a skill from the DIY network.

And where could this show possibly go? Whitney and Alex engaged in pretty much every role-playing scenario I can think of. He's been a foreign exchange student and she was the cheerleader smitten by his vaguely German accent. She was a naughty nurse and he was her patient. They were strangers just going on their first date. She pretended to be athletic and wore those stupid knee-high socks. They acted like they were people who liked pets. She faked being a sleepwalking poltergeist. She faked liking Christmas. He dressed up like Don Draper. She donned fake boobs to turn him on. What's left? Acting out their favorite Simpsons episodes?

For those who cared about the storylines, the season finale wrapped things up well enough -- it's not like there was a cliffhanger that will keep people wondering all spring and summer what happened. Alex and Whitney decided to get married, in their own weird way. Or, as he classily put it, "I am tired of getting free milk and I'd like to purchase this cow." All of the other characters' issues were also put to bed: Roxanne told Mark she wasn't interested in him; Lily and Neal worked out their post-breakup problems and he's happily bisexual now; and I got to see Peter Gallagher's eyebrows again. What more could anyone possibly want? Let's put this baby to bed so Whitney can do a sitcom on a network that would be better suited to her edgy style (FX, IFC, HBO or Showtime would all work). Everyone wins -- particularly me.

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