Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Whitney, Season 1 Episode 5 – "The Wire"

It feels like I could start a weekly game of identifying exactly which episodes of better sitcoms the various installments of Whitney Cummings' hate crime against television remind me of. Last week it was Community's "Anthropology 101," this week, during Whitney and Alex's game of sexual chicken while both armed with the knowledge that they were being spied on, I kept flashing back to Friends' fifth season classic, "The One Where Everybody Finds Out."

The scenarios aren't identical, of course – one involves the funny Chandler and Phoebe, the other the cripplingly unfunny Whitney and Alex – but the flavor of the thing was familiar, like how if you fish a half-eaten and moldy burger out of a sidewalk trash can and begin eating, you may be like, "Hey, this reminds me of In-N-Out!"

The basic premise of this episode was amazingly stupid, and not just for a sitcom. If Whitney found Alex's tone of voice condescending, why didn't she just say, "Stop using that shithead tone of voice?" Couldn't she have been trying to catch him in the act doing something illicit or something that would have actually made the spy camera make sense? And once the camera was up, they didn't go nearly far enough with making things uncomfortable for the people watching. The lap dance doesn't count. Between this and the pilot I'm getting pretty sick of the writers' mistaken belief that an extended third-act sequence of awkward sexuality from Whitney constitutes anything resembling comedy. It doesn't.

However, I still believe that this may be Whitney's strongest effort to date, both because of one moment which made me curl my top lip up in amusement for about half a second (detailed below in the funniest moment subsection) and because of the presence of Ken Marino as Alex's brother. Actually, I'm not sure if the latter is a plus, because, much as Party Down is brilliant and I love Marino, when he stepped through that door it was a little like seeing an old friend in pain. Guest starring in Whitney is a Ron Donald Don't.

But awful as Whitney may be, I do sort of admire how hard the producers are trolling people of taste with that episode title, just like when they said in an interview before the show started that all of NBC's other Thursday comedies (you know, those brilliant shows doing stuff no other sitcom has ever done, some stupid bullshit like that) have made it cool to be unfunny and Whitney is going to change all that. If you're gonna make a meritless piece of shit, might as well get some giggles out of its existence. Because, you know, there aren't any giggles to be found in the show's content.

Funniest Moment: Probably the guy who was Jonathan on 30 Rock (still haven't quite memorized his Whitney character's name) noting that Whitney's apartment isn't believable for someone of her means. It was perhaps the first moment of this series that might go over the heads of anyone.

Final Grade: D+

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