TV Preview: Will NBC's Whitney Manage to Stick Around Awhile?

If the Whitney Cummings comedy can prove it's not just another Friends clone, it might have a fighting chance to build an audience.

By , Columnist

Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Whitney, the new NBC sitcom starring Whitney Cummings (who you may know from her stand-up comedy and appearances on Chelsea Lately) could be considered another branch of the Friends family tree. It’s full of thirtysomethings looking to make their lives more meaningful and fun without putting a whole lot of effort into doing either.

Cummings stars as Whitney, who has been “happily unmarried” to her boyfriend Alex (Chris D’Elia) for three years. In the pilot episode, surrounded by her little clique of friends, she bemoans the fact that she’s always going to weddings and doesn’t have enough sex in her life. Her friends include Roxanne (Zoe Lister-Jones), a divorcee who is brash, opinionated, and something of an alcoholic (in the pilot, she was never without a drink), and Lily, who is the most upbeat of the crew and more than ready to settle down.

Rounding out the group are Neal (Maulik Pancholy), Lily’s beau, a guy who is sweet, charming, and probably smarter than anyone in his circle, and Mark, the bachelor/player guy, the same swaggering, womanizing dude who seems to crop up in every one of these “relationship” comedies.

Whitney spends the first half of the episode trying to figure out a way she and Alex can add more spark to their love life. This, of course, turns into a comedy of errors, and gives Cummings a chance to display her comedic chops.

The Good: Cummings is funny, and she and D’Elia have excellent chemistry. There's a lot riding on their characters' relationship. If done right, it may just be what gives Whitney a fighting chance to build an audience.

The Not So Good: Do we really need another “relationship” comedy? So far, there is nothing here that hasn’t been done before. In addition, alcoholic friend swigging booze at every turn is not humorous or cute.

The Prognosis: Whitney has its laugh out loud moments, especially in the scenes with Whitney and Alex. However, if the show is to last, it's going to have to prove it’s more than just another Friends clone.

Whitney premieres Thursday, September 22 at 9:30pm ET on NBC.

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Mindy Peterman is a freelance writer whose focus is on television, movies and pop culture. She has written over one hundred articles for the award winning website and has conducted interviews with producer Peter Asher, psychic-medium John Edward, Greg Grunberg and Bob Guiney from Band…

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