Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Whitney'
[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots.]
Show: "Whitney" (NBC)
The Pitch: "You loved Whitney Cummings' raunchy standup, now see if you love her in the hippest comedy of 1993."
Quick Response: This is one that NBC should probably scrap and start over with. The pilot is consistently and woefully unfunny. And as unfunny as the pilot is, NBC has managed to feature just about every single punchline in promos that have been in almost relentless circulation. As I've said on Twitter, there's one punchline in "Whitney" that made me laugh out loud when I saw it in the upfronts sizzle reel and that made me laugh out loud within the pilot and it's even made me laugh out loud the couple times I've seen it in promotion on NBC. But that's it. So NBC has a problem: "Whitney" is a bad pilot and I don't think people are going to like it. They're going to be disappointed. But the people who actually are LOVING the "Whitney" promos -- there may be some out there, though I don't know any -- are going to tune in and they're going to be disappointed by how little there is that they haven't seen. ["Whitney" is already in real danger of a viewer uprising in its Thursday home. This pilot isn't going to help.] My solution would be to leave this sucker on the shelf and move on with Ep.2. It's not like "Whitney" has an origin pilot or anything. It's Whitney and her boyfriend (Chris D'Elia) mid-relationship. Give the show a fighting chance and don't air this episode. It would be the humane thing to do, because I don't disagree with NBC's core feeling that Whitney Cummings is a talented and promising comedic voice and that her energy with D'Elia has potential, even if that promise and that potential are, at best, nascent in the pilot. The pilot also makes very little profitable use of the supporting cast featuring Maulik Pancholy and several other plausibly valuable foils, and it doesn't include the newly added Jane Kaczmarek at all. So start over. You can lift the scene with Whitney in the naughty nurse costume and insert it in a future episode and I guarantee that I'll laugh again when she asks the boyfriend to fill out the pile of paperwork before sex. But airing this pilot isn't the right way to treat a show you pretend to like. I don't need to tell the world anything else about this pilot. I'm willing to forget it ever happened. You won't get that offer from me for "Free Agents," I assure you.
Desire To Watch Again: Of all of the bad comedy pilots this spring, "Whitney" is the one that I actually think has the most potential to turn in a decent -- not "remarkable," not "hilarious" and not even "good," necessarily, but "decent" -- second episode. I highly doubt I'll give it much more than two or three episodes, but I *did* watch nearly two-thirds of a season of "Outsourced," so it could happen. In any case, I hope NBC doesn't waste one of my good-faith viewings on this pilot.
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Pan Am'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: FOX's 'Alcatraz'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'Person of Interest'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's ' 'The River'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Last Man Standing'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'Two Broke Girls'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Up All Night'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Revenge'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Once Upon a Time'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Awake'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: FOX's 'I Hate My Teenage Daughter'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: The CW's 'The Secret Circle'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'Unforgettable'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'The Playboy Club'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Charlie's Angels'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Grimm'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: FOX's 'New Girl'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: The CW's 'Hart of Dixie'
Take Me To The Pilots ' 11: ABC's 'Apartment 23'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'A Gifted Man'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots installments.