This week on “Whitney,” it was a bit of a mixed bag with “Space Invaders,” whose title was better than the actual show within the context of the plot. It revolved around the fact that Alex was lying to Whitney about his whereabouts in order to score a little ‘me’-time. Understandably, given how high maintenance she is. The guy’s simply trying to have a moment to himself, and he wanted to do it without ruffling her feathers. (Get it? “Space Invaders”?) Don’t get me wrong, it’s kind of sad that he has to lie for such a mundane reason that she should be okay with in the first place, but this is Whitney we’re talking about, once again.
So, after catching him hanging at a café, rocking out to whatever Alex listens to- from the looks of his “dance moves” (which are what she really should be concerned with, though she does rightfully call him on it later), it was some sort of EDM-type stuff- Whitney calls a session of couples therapy in order.
Whitney: “What’s going on? Are you in some kind of trouble? Because if you’re not, you are!” She goes on: “When you tell me that you need space, I feel like you’re planning my murder.”
Alex: “When I don’t include you in things, you feel like I want to kill you.”
So, it’s off to the therapist, played by former Monty Python alum, John Cleese. Now, this is where I started to get a little frustrated with the show a bit. Remember a while back, when I pointed out in a review how much better the material on “2 Broke Girls” was, aka star Whitney Cummings’ other show that she co-created/writes for? And how weird it was to give away her “A”-material (such as it is) to another show and not use it on her own eponymously-titled show?
Well, that’s ultimately her prerogative. If that’s the way she wants to go, fine. But when you waste a master comedian like Cleese in a nothing role like this, that makes me sad. I feel like he could have come up with better material himself than what he was given here. The guy’s a living legend, for the love of God. I mean, he above all the people involved in this show, should get a pass to do whatever he wants, and if he just wanted to cash an easy paycheck, fine. But I feel like this was a wasted opportunity overall. I mean, this was about as good as it got, for God’s sake…
Dr. Grant: “Whitney has been lied to a lot in her past. I can tell that by her personality and by her honey badger-like demeanor.”
Honestly, the honey badger YouTube video is funnier than that remark, which I can only assume was why they brought it up. As in: “Wanna see something really funny? Well, there’s this rando guy on the internet with a dubbed video that’s funnier than this!” For shame, people. Whitney herself kind of summed it up later on in the show.
Whitney: “Alex, I might not ever change. It’s a lot of work and I’m really lazy.”
Hey, she said it.
Fortunately, the show wasn’t a complete wash. I always thought that the show’s saving graces were its two female supporting characters, Lily and Roxanne. They certainly had the better subplot, as RJ’s niece, Maggie, was visiting and Lily, former babysitting champion of the world or whatever stepped up to look after her while RJ was working at the bar, only to be outshined by the bordering on alcoholic Roxanne, who befriended her without even trying while Lily tried way too hard to make an impression. RJ tried to explain to Lily what the haps was.
RJ: “Maggie’s not really into, like, tiaras and weird-ass puppets. And don’t tell a kid to come under a table to see a magical village.”
Though Roxanne is clearly bemused by Maggie’s instant affection for her, she does have a limit, chastising the girl for telling her she loves her, pointing out that she should only use those words if you really mean it. Soon after, Maggie leaves and Roxanne addresses her real love.
Roxanne: “I love you.”
Mark, thinking she means him: “What was that?”
Roxanne: “I was talking to my drink.”
That was about as good as it got, people. Much more typical was the sort of one-note joke that is more funny in theory than in execution, like this one:
Lily: “I woke up this morning and my head was all tweaked. Felt like someone sat on my head.”
Mark: “That’s because someone sat on your head.”
I mean, it’s kind of funny, I guess. But it’s not exactly a laugh-out-loud moment, is it? More like a mild chuckle at best. Here’s the weird thing. I like these characters. I feel like I know them. “Whitney” kind of feels like a more hipster take on “Friends,” with a dash of “Cheers.” That sounds kind of horrifying on paper, but it could work, and sometimes it does. But that’s the cast, not the writing that’s pulling it off. In order to go from good to great, they have got to step up their game a bit, otherwise that aforementioned laziness might just leave Whitney with one less show to deal with.
And despite my misgivings about the show, I really do want it to succeed. I like Cummings and I review “2 Broke Girls” as well and really enjoy it for what it is, as well as her talk show on E!, called “Love You, Mean It.” She’s got more talent than people, especially critics, give her credit for. But subpar efforts like this just aren’t going to cut it, I’m afraid.
What did you think of “Whitney” this week? Feel free to disagree and state your case below in the comments section. Do you like Whitney’s style of humor just fine? How about the cast? What do you think could be done to improve the show? Let me know in the comments!