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Me vs. Whitney vs. 2 Broke Girls

May 17, 2012
Whitney Cummings

Writer, Producer, Actor Whitney Cummings

I don’t, as a rule, jump on the hatewagon for sitcoms without giving them at least a few episodes to win me over. In fact, I can be very forgiving of a show’s peccadilloes once I get to know the characters and get a feel for what the writers are trying to accomplish. So, having watched a full season of Whitney and 2 Broke Girls, trust me when I say that one of them is actually a pretty good show. And it’s probably not the one you think.

Both shows were created by Whitney Cummings, who also writes for both, and of course is the titular character in Whitney. Whitney, the person, has also recently been offered her own talk show, which has sparked rumors of Whitney, the show’s, cancellation. These rumors are as yet unconfirmed, and I’m honestly glad for it.

Despite what the critics have been saying, I believe Whitney is by far the superior of Cummings’ two sitcoms. Both Whitney and 2 Broke Girls started as average shows trying to get their footing. In my humble opinion, as the season progressed, Whitney got better and 2 Broke Girls got worse. Much worse. Kat Dennings, the star of 2 Broke Girls, is both aesthetically and comically the only worthwhile thing about the show (if for no other reason than helping to usher in a relatively new archetype in female characters). But despite her best efforts the whole affair is just a mess: painfully unfunny, with one-note characters (many of whom are borderline racist), and one-liners the audience can see coming a mile away. The inclusion of a celebrity cameo (Martha Stewart in the season finale), a popular Hail Mary pass of shows that have run out of ideas, sealed the deal for me and these, ah… two broke girls. I’m breaking up with the show.

Whitney on the other hand, while not terribly original, is funny and topical and, surprisingly, often very sweet. Granted, most of the best gags come from her on-screen boyfriend Alex (Chris D’Elia*), who certainly isn’t above a little physical comedy**, but the show’s little ensemble cast have had some funny sitcom adventures. It’s clear that the cast has gotten more comfortable in their respective skins. As with any show, the audience is learning more about these characters and their pasts with each episode. Plots dealing with closeted homosexuality, divorce, workplace treachery, and “the Christmas spirit” have featured some very strong writing. But it’s the relationship between Whitney and Alex that drives the show. Their constant oneupsmanship in domestic spats is often a plot device, but once you get that this is their “thing,” it becomes more like the show’s signature.

I won’t defend Whitney against all criticism. It’s not perfect, and not always a home-run. It still feels like Cummings and the other writers are trying to find the show’s voice. But it certainly doesn’t deserve the vitriol often tossed at it by critics and audiences who watched maybe one episode. Regardless, it’s a damn sight better than 2 Broke Girls. Both shows appear to have been renewed for a second season, and I’m comfortable predicting a strong sophomore effort from Whitney; but 2 Broke Girls is off my watch list. I just can’t do it anymore.

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* D’Elia played a “cool” pedophile on a very funny episode of Workaholics.

** Seriously, you owe it to yourself to check out episode #5 wherein Whitney finds out that Alex never washes his favorite jeans, so she washes them for him. Watching him squirm and swagger his way around the apartment is worth every minute of your time. The bit starts about 7 minutes into the episode.

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