Whitney Review: "Clarence!" (Episode 1.08)
Has Whitney, the character, become too unbearable? She’s provided her show, named after herself (of course) with a lot of problems through the first seven episodes that have overshadowed the humorous acting of Chris D’Elia (Alex) and some insanely clever jokes. That’s right: compliments for Whitney do exist.
“Clarence!” opens with Whitney making a joke about online shopping and drinking. It was funny; her delivery was not. It’s followed up by Alex receiving a package that contains the ashes of his pet dog Sarge. He’s bummed because the death of his dog is finally settling in and instead of making fun of him, Whitney, in a shockingly human move, comforts him and proposes they get a dog.
Mark suggests they rescue a dog because they’re like women: “You just want one damaged enough that they’re grateful to be indoors.” As a man, I am ashamed of Mark as a character. The writers want him to be the Barney Stinson of the show, but he is an embarrassment. His character has quietly crept up to be just as annoying as Whitney at her worst.
Later, while filling out forms to adopt a dog, Whitney notices that there are only boxes for ‘single’ and ‘married’ but nothing for what they are (happily in a three-year relationship and if she had a soul, he would be its mate). And boom goes the dynamite. Whitney declares war on the pound owner. It’s actually nice to see her not annoyed at Alex for once. Conflict is great in comedy; it’s what makes sitcoms laughable. This is the first time the conflict isn’t internal with the group and turns outwards toward another character. Dare I say I agree with Whitney’s opinion for once?
It seems so.
Sure, this episode has some overused jokes, but they finally started to get the timing and delivery down. This episode also delivers a substantial plot not involving the other characters of the group. We get to see the underused Roxanne interact with Neal. It turns out he works with stocks in some capacity and offers to help her out with her investments. It broke my heart when she asked how Blockbuster was doing. It was more sad than funny, but we all know a person that is out of touch with reality.
They end up sharing an awkward kiss, which provides obvious tension. I appreciated their interactions, but it would have been better if the went deeper with the story instead of just focusing so much on the dog plot. The other characters deserve their screen time. Last week Lily was a little over the top (in other words, a little too much like Whitney), but her brief scenes this week landed a few can’t-miss jokes.
So, let’s go back to the initial question: Has Whitney, the character, become too unbearable? No. She redeemed herself a little bit, and this episode was the best one yet. Unfortunately, their best is still not all that great. Perhaps there is hope for Whitney after all. Or is that too unlikely?