bill bodkin has given the show half a season …
It wouldn’t be an earth-shattering statement to say that NBC’s sitcom Whitney is terrible.
Yes, the sitcom about a zany, salty but in the end ‘loveable’ photographer (Whitney Cummings) and the relationship she has with her eternally unshaved boyfriend (Chris D’Elia) is painful at times to watch. From the one-dimensional and one-not supporting cast to the really awkward “live studio audience” laughter, everything feels forced, underwritten and reeks of a desperate, “I’m funny, seriously!” attitude.
With that being said, there is actually one aspect of this show that is actually quite enjoyable. Yes, there is something that saves me from dashing my eyes out every time the show comes on my TV, that prevents me from wanting to empty the contents of my stomach into my toilet or drink my sense into a 30 minute coma. That one thing is the performance of Chris D’Elia.
As Whitney’s boyfriend, D’Elia is a deadpan and sarcastic bit of panacea. His comedic timing and ability to play off his fellow actors makes Whitney watchable. In fact, he’s so good that he can make Whitney Cummings somewhat enjoyable. In fact, the highlight of Whitney’s entire run so far is D’Elia’s exchanges with The State‘s Ken Marino, who plays his brother.
I’ll go so far as to say that if Whitney fails, I’d love to see D’Elia land his own show — there’s just something about him that’s just fun and interesting. He’s a believable everyman with a sharp wit and great facial expressions.
However, when D’Elia is offscreen, the show comes to a screeching halt. And the majority of the blame falls squarely on Cummings. Watching her onscreen, you can tell she doesn’t seem comfortable as a lead actress. While I’ve never been a fan of hers, she’d probably be better suited as a supporting actress, where she can pick her comedic spots, instead of having to carry the show on her shoulders.
I’ve given Whitney well over half a season to give it a fair and honest opinion. And after five months, I can confidently say that unless you’re out of viewing options, this is a comedy you can pass on. It’s particularly unfunny, uninspired and really has nothing to offer a television audience outside of the fact Chris D’Elia might have a bright future when the show finishes its run.