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Fall TV Preview: Whitney Is a Very Different Relationship Comedy—Is It for You?

Whitney, Chris D'Elia, Whitney Cummings Jordin Althaus/NBC
WWK Fall TV Preview 2011

When it was announced that Whitney Cummings would be writing and starring in her own TV show, we got really excited. We fully support funny women, especially ones who aren't afraid to be crudely funny. Plus, we love the idea of a smart woman trying to write a real comedy about women and relationships, because TV shows often just do not get those things right. At least from the ladies' point of view.

So how does Whitney handle the age-old story of a couple maneuvering their day-to-day life? Turns out, there is something in the show everyone can relate to, plus a couple things you might not understand, but still laugh at anyway…

MORE: Our Five Favorite New Fall Shows

Whitney (NBC)
Premieres Thursday, Sept. 22 9:30 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition: Person of Interest (CBS), Bones (Fox), The Secret Circle (CW), Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Cast:
Whitney Cummings, Chris D'Elia, Jane Kaczmarek, Maulik Pancholy, Rhea Seehorn, Zoe Lister-Jones, Daniel G. O'Brien
Status: We've seen the pilot episode

If you've seen Cummings perform a stand-up routine or roast someone on Comedy Central, you already know she's slightly vulgar and usually edgy with her comedy. In Whitney, it's dialed down a bit (perhaps to grab a wider audience), but you can pick out which jokes and dialogue runs have her stamp o' style.

If this is your first time meeting Whitney Cummings, then let us just break down the show for you. Whitney plays the title character, a regular gal in a long-term relationship with Alex (D'Elia), yet she has zero desire to marry her live-in boyfriend. The fact that NBC has labeled that as an "unconventional relationship" is a little silly, because it's pretty commonplace these days. But that's just us splitting hairs.

Meet Alex and Whitney's circle of friends: sickening-in-love couple Neal (30 Rock's Pancholy) and Lily (Lister-Jones), bitter single girl Roxanne (Seehorn) and Mark (O'Brien), a sexually enthusiastic (read: horn dog) cop who's got a pocketful of sexual puns. We're fairly certain every group of friends has at least one of these characters in 'em, so it's tough not to chuckle at the gang's back and forth.

The group is attending a friend's wedding, which is a situation rich with potential shenanigans. There's the bouquet toss to conquer (Neal sets a pick for his girlfriend Lily), a DJ to make things annoying (Whitney can't remember a time she wasn't sitting down to a meal without a DJ "getting the party started"), and the bride to piss off (Whitney somehow wears the same color as the bride…yellow). The wedding is how the audience will get the dynamic of the group down. Our favorite supporting cast member is Roxanne, who's divorced and just doesn't care what comes out of her mouth. Her suggestion for Whitney's anniversary gift for Alex: Oxycontin.

Whitney's main dilemma after the wedding is keeping her relationship lively, so off to the sex shop she goes, with friends in tow. The whole role-playing bit is pretty funny; Whitney plays a nurse, but to make it realistic, she keeps making Alex fill out forms before getting down to business. Then, due to a sex-related accident, Alex ends up in the hospital.

Whitney's thrice-divorced mom (Kaczmarek) shows up then, and we find out the mom's hard-won aversion to marriage and commitment has trickled down to her daughter. However, the pilot wraps up with Whitney sweetly realizing that even though she is in no rush to get married, she loves her boyfriend and things are fine just the way they are. Until next week of course, because it seems like the show's format will mostly be about how relationships can be complicated. Groundbreaking premise? Of course not. Plenty of opportunities for comedy? Absolutely.

The pilot's jokes come steadily and predictably, and we can't help but cringe at the multicamera live-audience format, but the writing is different enough that you laugh at the punch lines you know are headed your way. Cummings is endearing as the lead, and a lot of girls will relate to how she views her relationship. D'Elia has perfect sitcom timing, and the supporting cast works well together. If this show keeps Whitney's humor coming and doesn't revert to stale storylines, it could really find an audience.

Verdict: Watch. You'll find out right away if this different take on a relationship sitcom is for you. And a lot of viewers are starved for funny women on TV.

Missed a review? Catch up on all the fall TV previews right here.

WATCH: Onset Convos With Whitney Cast

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