'Whitney' is funny but formulaic
It does not bode well for a show when I hear from viewers that they are sick of a program before it premieres just because of the promos. That was the anecdotal outcry from viewers over the summer upon seeing too many for "Whitney" (9:30 tonight, WPXI), the second fall TV series with Whitney Cummings ("Chelsea Lately") involved (she also co-created CBS's "2 Broke Girls" and serves as an executive producer on that show and "Whitney").
"Whitney" is by no means a clever, fantastic sitcom, but it's also not the worst show ever. It feels like one of the less objectionable hammock shows NBC put on between "Friends" and "Seinfeld" in the 1990s. The characters are all caricature-y stereotypes and the jokes are of the ba-da-dum! variety, but the pilot made me laugh more than some other new comedies, mostly due to the performances.
Ms. Cummings stars as the title character, a woman who has been with her boyfriend, Alex (Chris D'Elia, "Glory Daze"), for three years but has no desire to get married. She hangs out with two friends: bitter, divorced Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn) and upbeat Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones), who is dating a devoted nice-guy, Neal (Maulik Pancholy, "30 Rock").
If there's a good reason to watch "Whitney" -- and that's questionable -- it's for the occasional bits of snappy dialogue that are delivered with gusto. But unless and until Whitney and her friends develop to the point that they feel like real people and not stock sitcom characters, "Whitney" will remain odd-show-out in NBC's otherwise smart and sophisticated Thursday night lineup.
First Published September 22, 2011 12:00 am