Wednesday, September 21, 2011

NBC Fall Pilot Review: Whitney - Premieres September 22; Designing Women, Cybill, Dharma & Greg Coming to TV Guide Network Fall 2011 Schedule

Whitney

Whitney - Thursdays 9:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 9:30PM ET/PT


Whitney is a hilarious look at modern-day love, which centers around Whitney (Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Lately) and Alex (Chris D'Elia, Glory Daze), a happily unmarried couple. Together for three years, the duo is in no rush to get hitched, which seems to get a mixed response from their friends.

Whitney's close circle of opinionated girlfriends include Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones) who is sweet, upbeat, and ready to get married, and Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn, The Starter Wife) a divorcee who is not afraid to speak her mind, but has not given up on love completely. When they get together, they often discuss their varying relationships and how to deal with everyday life and seemingly have fun at the same time.

Completing their close-knit group is Neal (Maulik Pancholy, 30 Rock) a real contemporary renaissance man—sensitive, cool, and knows a little bit about everything – and happens to be dating Lily. On the other end of the spectrum is Whitney and Alex's next-door neighbor Mark (Dan O'Brien, How I Met Your Mother), a police officer and total bachelor who claims to be the ultimate player but likes to talk a good game.

At the end of the day, Whitney and Alex realize that while their relationship might not be perfect on paper, they really do love each other – and that works for them.


Cast Details:

Whitney Cummings as Whitney Cummings
Chris D'Elia as Alex Miller
Maulik Pancholy as Neal
Rhea Seehorn as Roxanne
Zoe Lister-Jones as Lilly
Daniel G. O'Brien as Mark
Jane Kaczmarek as Patti Morris, Whitney's mother (recurring guest star)


Whitney Cummings (Whitney) is the title star and executive producer of Whitney. A Los Angeles-based comedian, actor, writer and producer, Cummings also co-created and co-wrote, along with Michael Patrick King, the comedy Two Broke Girls, starring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs. Last year, Cummings' hour-long Comedy Central stand-up special, Money Shot, was nominated for an American Comedy Award. As a comedian, Cummings appears regularly on E!'s Chelsea Lately and Comedy Central's Comedy Central Roasts. She got her start starring on MTV's Punk'd.

Comedian Chris D'Elia, (Alex Miller) East Coast-born and West Coast-raised, found himself in Los Angeles, performing every night of the week and quickly becoming a regular at all the Hollywood clubs. His silly, physical humor is what sets him apart from other comedians. D'Elia was recently a series regular in the TBS hour-long series Glory Daze, where he played a college frat-boy burnout. He also has been featured on Lopez Tonight and Showtime's Live Nude Comedy. In addition, D'Elia can be seen in the 2011 half-hour comedy showcase, Comedy Central Presents.

Zoe Lister-Jones (Lily) is a Brooklyn-born actor, writer and producer. Her film Breaking Upwards, which she co-wrote, produced and starred in with director Daryl Wein, was released theatrically by IFC in 2010. For television, Lister-Jones reprised her role as Kim on the live-action Adult Swim series Delocated for Seasons 1 and 2 and guest starred on HBO's Bored to Death and The Good Wife. On Broadway, Lister-Jones received excellent reviews for The Little Dog Laughed.

Maulik Pancholy (Neal) has established himself as one of Hollywood's most distinctive, versatile and impressive performers. Pancholy is best known for his recurring role on the critically acclaimed, Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award-winning NBC comedy "30 Rock." Pancholy stars as Jonathan, the loyal assistant to Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin). In 2009, Pancholy shared the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. He also shared the SAG Award nomination with the cast for this same category in 2008 and in 2011.

Daniel G. O'Brien (Mark) has worked extensively in theater in New York City with The Atlantic Theater Company, MCC, The Present Company, The Flea Theater and The Vineyard Theater, among others. In the UK, O'Brien has performed at the Camden People's Theater in London and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, garnering a Scotsman Fringe First Award for his work. With his wife and playwright-in-residence, Julie Shavers, he has directed and produced four plays, most recently Silver Bullet Trailer, which was developed with the Royal Court Theater and Present Company and performed at The Ohio Theater in New York.

Rhea Seehorn (Roxanne) grew up in Virginia and graduated from college with a degree in drama and visual arts. Theatrically trained, she further developed her craft in Washington D.C., performing on many stages including Arena Stage and the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, where she is a member of the acting company. Seehorn then moved to Manhattan, performing with Playwrights Horizons. She made her Broadway debut as an understudy in Neil Simon's 45 Seconds from Broadway. Shortly thereafter, she was cast as a series regular on I'm with Her opposite Teri Polo, David Sutcliffe and Danny Comden. Since relocating to Los Angeles, she has had series regular and recurring roles in The Starter Wife, Head Cases, Trust Me, The Dollhouse, Burn Notice and a supporting role in the Disney feature Shaggy Dog opposite Tim Allen.


Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" - When Whitney and Alex, a happily unmarried couple, attend one of their friends' weddings, Whitney realizes that she and Alex are dangerously close to relationship boredom after three years together. Determined not to let that happen, Whitney consults her close circle of opinionated girlfriends Lily and Roxanne. Snapping into action she tries to seduce Alex in a sexy costume, but someone winds up in the emergency room.

Written by Whitney Cummings
Directed by Andy Ackerman


Analysis:

Whitney is a multi-camera sitcom, one of the few to debut in recent years. Television seems to be moving more toward single-camera comedy, and while many of them are funny, it's nice to see an old-fashioned multi-camera one. The show is co-produced and created by star Whitney Cummings, who gained fame as a regular on Punk'd and a frequent panelist on Chelsea Lately. As the host of that show, Chelsea Handler, often chose comedians that shared her type of comedy, a lot of parallels can be drawn between her and Whitney Cummings. Cummings' brash comedy tends to focus on relationships, sex, and the differences between men and women.

Romance, relationships, and sex are the main topics of the show, with women in all sorts of different relationships depicted. Whitney and her boyfriend Alex are not married, and happy to be in that situation. Whitney's friend Lily is desperate to get married, and her other friend Roxanne is recently divorced but not giving up yet. Her mother, Patti, has been divorced three times and has completely given up on men. The plot of the pilot episode is believable, though the wedding scene seemed to do nothing for the plot except introduce all of the characters. Cummings humor is quite brash at times, and while some may find that a turn-off, I honestly found it quite funny. She knows how to do sex jokes without them being distasteful. Whitney and Alex are the main subjects of the show as they deal with the crazy relationships around them.

In the pilot, after attending a friend's wedding (and making a fool of herself by eating wedding cupcakes before the bride and groom "cut" the cupcake-cake), she decides her relationship with Alex is growing stale. So after enlisting advice from her friends, she ends up at a sex shop, and buys a nurse outfit to surprise Alex on their third anniversary. Things go horribly wrong, and Alex ends up hitting his head on the kitchen counter, giving himself a concussion... making Whitney realize how much she really does love him. I liked the plot and thought it had definite funny moments, but the cast somehow feels a bit too large. I realize that they're trying to show relationships from all angles, but I found myself having a hard time keeping up with who's who. The mother character played by the always-hilarious Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle) was only in one scene, and I felt like she should have been used more in the pilot. I understand her role was originally played by Beverly D'Angelo, and all her scenes were reshot.


Conclusion:

Whitney Cummings is a funny comedian, and her take on relationships and sex is quite funny. There aren't a lot of shows on the air right now that have women in such brash, leading roles. Whitney is placed in the middle of NBC's Thursday night comedy lineup, but I'm not sure that is exactly the right place for it. While it is a very funny show, I'm not sure it's "Must-See TV," and I'm not sure how well it will fit in with the other shows that are (and three single-camera series). Hopefully, being scheduled after The Office will help in the ratings. For now, the show will be reaired the following night at 8:30PM for a few weeks, so maybe that will bring in some extra eyes as well.

I still feel like the cast is too large and it's hard to keep up with the characters. Ladies' man Mark isn't a very likeable character, but perhaps that's what they are going for, and I feel like Jane Kaczmarek should be given more of a starring role in the show. Nonetheless, I hope the show does well, and I hope people like the over-the-top strong comedy of Whitney Cummings.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Greg Brobeck on 09/21/11

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, September 21 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Whitney Photo Gallery


    Preview:






    More sitcoms are coming to the TV Guide Network this Fall! We can call this TV Guide Fall 2011 schedule part two! We already told you that Ned & Stacey, Veronica's Closet and Samantha Who? have joined the network, but now three more sitcoms are being added -- and these are more long-running series! Effective Monday, October 3, 2011, Designing Women, Cybill and Dharma & Greg will join the weekday line-up. Designing Women will air weekdays at 1:00pm & 1:30pm, followed by Cybill at 2:00pm & 2:30pm. Ugly Betty will move again, this time to 3pm & 4pm, leading into an hour of Dharma & Greg at 5pm. The 6-8pm line-up of shorter-lived sitcoms we mentioned already, will remain on the schedule. However, the 11am-1pm encores will no longer be airing, as TV Guide Network has acquired the cable rights to new first-run syndicated talk show Last Shot with Judge Gunn and will be airing weekdays in the 12 noon hour. The encores of Samantha Who, Ned & Stacey and Veronica's Closet (in this order) will now air 12am-2am.
    Like the shorter-lived sitcoms, these comedies also star women such as Delta Burke, Annie Potts, Cybill Shepherd, and Jenna Elfman. Designing Women will get a two-hour block on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 3-5pm to kick things off, with the first four episodes airing, so tune in for that! Georgia on my mind!
    Discuss these new additions to the TV Guide Network Fall 2011 schedule.


  • Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, October 21

    The Goldbergs - "Airplane!" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Beverly surprises the family with an end-of-summer vacation to Miami with the flight down resembling the classic film, and Geoff accidentally spills to Erica the real reason for the trip.

    The Goldbergs - "The Prettiest Boy in School" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Adam, now a senior, returns to William Penn Academy as he wrestles with the fact that he is a cool kid and no longer a nerd while his original friend group isn’t as lucky. Meanwhile, Beverly attempts to have a more grown-up relationship with Erica and Barry before they head back to college.

    The Conners - "Keep on Truckin' Six Feet Apart" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    The Conners are back and dealing with the pandemic, and life’s financial troubles loom over the family. Dan is still trying to catch up on back-mortgage payments and avoid a potential eviction, while the Lunch Box is closed for everything but takeout and delivery. Becky and Darlene are both forced to search for additional income at the newly reopened Wellman Plastics plant.

    black-ish - "Hero Pizza" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    The season premiere of “black-ish” takes us to the beginning of the global pandemic for the Johnsons. As a first responder, Bow receives her family’s praise for her work, with Junior being her biggest fan. But over time, the family loses their enthusiasm, and Bow discovers someone in her house is breaking the quarantine lockdown rules. Meanwhile, Dre tries to convince everyone that he too is an essential worker.

    Tyler Perry's House of Payne - "Moving On" (BET, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    House of Payne is the hilarious comedy about Retired fire chief Curtis Payne and his lovely wife Ella. Together the loving couple navigate the problems of life with their quirky modern day family.

    Tyler Perry's Assisted Living - "Mary Jane" (BET, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Leah learns that Mr. Brown has cut down Vinny's plants in the back yard.

    Family Time - "Somebody's Watching Me" (Bounce TV, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Tony and Donnie spy on Ebony and her new boyfriend; Lori is recruited to be the face of hair care.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 19)

    Wednesday, October 21

    • Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish/Girlfriends) - Watch Tracee on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. She will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Eric Andre (Man Seeking Woman/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - Eric appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Eva Longoria (Telenovela) - Eva will be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Susan Kelechi Watson (Louie) - Susan is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig will be on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Sara Gilbert (The Conners/Living Biblically/Bad Teacher/Welcome to New York/Roseanne) - Sara appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) - Sarah is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Marlon Wayans (Marlon/The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon talks about On the Rocks on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Lauren Ash (Superstore/Super Fun Night) - Lauren appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Brandy (Zoe Ever After/The Game/Moesha/Thea) - Brandy talks about her struggle with depression, new music and what's next on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
    • Michelle Buteaun (First Wives Club) - Michelle talks about raising twins, relocating to London with her family to tape next season of her hit show The Circle, her new book and more on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Cedric the Entertainer (The Neighborhood/The Last O.G./The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric talks about CBS's The Greatest #AtHomeVideos on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Tim Robbins (The Brink) - Tim talks about the Bobbo Supreme podcast on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Teri Polo (I'm with Her/Man Up!) and Blythe Danner (Adam's Rib/Tattingers) - Teri, Blythe and the cast of Meet the Parents reunite on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
    • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane talks about Weakest Link on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (July/August/September/October)

    Will & Grace - The Revival -Season Three - The Farewell Season Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season Mom - The Complete Seventh Season The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season

    07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
    07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
    07/21 - The Thundermans - Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3 / Season 4
    07/21 - The Unicorn - Season One
    07/28 - The Thundermans - Season 1-4 Bundle
    08/04 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Eighth Season
    08/04 - The Neighborhood - Season One
    08/11 - Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens - Season 1
    08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
    09/01 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Season 14
    09/01 - What We Do in the Shadows - The Complete Second Season
    09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    09/15 - Mom - The Complete Seventh Season
    09/15 - South Side - Season 1
    09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Second Season
    09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Third Season
    09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Fourth Season
    09/22 - Man with a Plan - Season Three
    09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
    10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
    10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
    10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    10/21 - MeTV Network Acquires Looney Tunes and More Classic Cartoons; Kaley Cuoco HBO Max Series Announces Nov. 26 Premiere
    10/20 - Antenna TV Officially Announces Returns of The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time; Holiday Movie Reunites Family Matters Siblings
    10/19 - Disney+ Says "Simpsons Forever"; TBS Orders 4th Season of The Last O.G.
    10/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 19, 2020)
    10/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fried Green Tomatoes Series Starring Reba McEntire in the Works at NBC; Last Man Standing to End After Nine Seasons
    10/16 - Fri-Yay: COVID-19 Storylines on TV, Will Viewers Watch?; Antenna TV's 70 Episode Jack Benny Marathon for 70th Anniversary
    10/15 - Last Man Standing to Conclude After Season 9 in 2021; CBS Announces Fall 2020 Premiere Dates
    10/14 - TBS Brings Out Halloween Sitcom Episodes on Halloween; Remembering Conchata Ferrell of Two and a Half Men
    10/13 - Freeform's 'Kickoff to Christmas' Schedule; Celebrate 20 Years of Curb on HBO Max
    10/12 - TNT Airing The West Wing Reruns on Fridays; Kate Mulgrew Joins Star Trek Animated Comedy
    10/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 12, 2020)
    10/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Seinfeld's Newman Returns in PSA to Encourage Mail-In Voting; Showtime Cancels On Becoming a God in Central Florida
    10/09 - Fri-Yay: One Day at a Time Makes Broadcast Debut As a Continuation of the Series' Unlikely Journey; Dickinson Season 2 Premiere Date and Renewal for Season 3
    10/08 - Hallmark Drama Adding Cheers, Happy Days and The Brady Bunch; Chelsea Handler HBO Max Special Gets Date
    10/07 - NBC Fall Pilot Review: Connecting... - Premieres Thursday (Oct. 8); Supernatural Gets Marathons on TNT as Series Finale Airs Nov. 19 on The CW
    10/06 - Cobra Kai Season 3 Premiere Date, 4th Season Renewal; Busy Philipps Joins Peacock Comedy Girls5eva
    10/05 - Apple TV+ Launches The Snoopy Show in 2021; Antenna TV Celebrates 70th Anniversary of The Burns and Allen Show
    10/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 5, 2020)
    10/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Saved by the Bell Reboot Debut Date Set; South Park Pandemic Special a Ratings Hit
    10/02 - Fri-Yay: The Return of Sitcoms: black-ish & Superstore; Bounce Acquires Everybody Hates Chris & Greenleaf
    10/01 - NBC's Young Rock Announces Cast; OWN Gets Digital Comedy
    09/30 - Saved by the Bell Reboot Launching November 25; HBO Orders Weekly Talk Show with Sam Jay
    09/29 - The Addams Family Coming to FETV; Netflix Developing Korean Sitcom
    09/28 - 2002-2007 Sitcom George Lopez Coming to TBS; Guests Announced for black-ish Election Special
    09/27 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 28, 2020)
    09/26 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Peacock to Launch All 45 Seasons of Saturday Night Live; Renewal for Family Guy and Bob's Burgers
    09/25 - Fri-Yay: Schitt's Creek Emmy Sweep; HBO Max Orders New Pretty Little Liars
    09/24 - NBC Moves This Is Us, Connecting Premieres; Fox Orders 2 More Seasons for Bob's Burgers & Family Guy
    09/23 - Schitt's Creek Heads to Syndication on Stations and Comedy Central; Apple Orders Patricia Arquette Comedy
    09/22 - Decades Fall 2020 Schedule; CMT Acquires American Housewife
    09/21 - Antenna TV Fall 2020 Schedule, with 2021 Teases; 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards Winners