Whitney Season 2 Review “Crazy, Stupid, Words”

Whitney Season 2 Episode 14 Crazy, Stupid, Words (3)

Only a few more episodes of “Whitney” left and it seemed like the show was rebounding a bit with a few solid episodes in a row there, but alas, it was not meant to last, I fear. In “Crazy, Stupid, Words” there was a bit of backsliding into old, bad habits, as the show’s aim to balance drama and comedy was a bit slipshod this time out. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good moments here and there, but overall, the results were a bit mediocre.

The main plot dealt with the way that certain words can set some people off for different reason. For instance, Roxanne resented being called a “bitch” and Lily a “flake” and so on. For Whitney, it was a seemingly mundane word that began with a “C,” which led to an amusing bit early on.

After the gang laid a bet as to who could take the wackiest picture, with the winner getting their pick out of the bar’s lost and found, Whitney called dibs on, of all things, a pair of false teeth. RJ understandably had issues with this oddball choice.

RJ: “She’s crazy. There’s an iPod Nano right in the front.”
Alex: “Whoa, whoa, whoa, RJ. Don’t say the “C”-word around Whitney.”
RJ: “No, no, I said ‘front’.”

Turns out her buzz-kill word was “crazy,” as in she is pretty damn crazy, which she totally is. Alex is upset when he discovers her idea of a funny pic is a photo of her butt, which she shares with everyone, much to his dismay. This leads to a big fight, which sets Alex on edge.

Aiming to even the stakes, he goes to take a picture of his, ahem, manhood with his laptop, only to get completely busted by Roxanne and Lily, who walk in and catch him…um, red-handed, I guess? (Or should I say red-peened, given that he slams it with the laptop in panic mode?) It was by far the episode’s funniest moment, and led to this priceless exchange about Alex’s junk between Roxanne and Lily.

Roxanne: “It was very impressive.”
Lily: “Very, very. I thought we were gonna have to fight it.”

Much to Alex’s even bigger dismay, so to speak, was Whitney’s completely non-plussed reaction.

Whitney: “Will you calm down? It’s not that big of a deal.”
Alex: “What do you mean by ‘not that big’?”

This led to a series of back and forth email exchanges between the girls about Alex’s endowment, which had him seeing red- and burning to see what was being said. This wouldn’t have been that big of a deal, but he jumped all over Whitney previously about how reading one’s emails and texts were a complete violation of trust- one he could barely contain himself to break, as he waited for the most opportune moment.

Alex: “Whitney, you taking a shower?”
Whitney: “No, it just started raining in here.”

She naturally catches him, which leads to more fighting, climaxing in him repeatedly calling her the dreaded “C”-word over and over, and her calling him by his own “bad” word, which was “stupid.” Now, up until then, this was all pretty standard sitcom stuff, but then things took that turn into drama, and it was a bit jarring, to be honest.

It was not a very successful transition overall and kind of stopped the show dead in its tracks. Have you ever noticed that the biggest laughs tend to be in the middle of the show, with a lot of set-up and soft-ball laughs in the early part, with the drama occurring towards the end? It’s not an entirely ideal approach, as it only gives the show a few minutes at best to recover, and since there’s almost always a B-storyline going on, too, even less time than that for that reason.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the effort, but the show really needs to work on its timing more than anything. Take what we’ll call chapter breaks, and I’ve noticed this on Whitney’s other show, “2 Broke Girls” as well. Those are the scenes that lead directly to the commercials. Typically, such scenes end on a plot point or a cliffhanger of some kind.

Whitney’s shows just seem to arbitrarily go into commercials randomly most of the time. This time, we did have the bit with Alex and the computer on one chapter break, so that was fine, but more often than not, it’s like they just threw a dart to decide. That sort of leaves the viewer hanging, but not in a good way.

I finally figured out what the issue was after weeks of reviewing it and trying to puzzle out why this show in particular seemed so off much of the time, and it’s that the way the show is structured is completely wrong. It should be: jokey bit at beginning, title, set-up, drama if there is any, then resolution, followed by joke at the end. Instead, its mild humor at the beginning, aimlessness in the first act, laughs in the second, followed often by heavy drama before a super-quick wrap-up of said drama before the credits roll.

I appreciate the effort to be different and play by their own rules, but it just doesn’t work that way. If you’re going to have drama, and “Whitney” seems determined to, then set it up early, cushion it with a few laughs, and then resolve it early enough to end on a big laugh. Don’t front-load all the laughs and put the drama at the tail end. That just doesn’t work, sorry to say. It just ends up seeming like neither quite gets its fair share of airtime, you know?

That’s my two cents, anyway. What do you think? Any other suggestions for “Whitney” and the gang? Or at least the writing staff? Let me know in the comments!