NBC’s Whitney was officially picked up for a full season earlier this week. The decision seems a little head-scratching, considering it is one of the weakest new shows on television. Maybe NBC is desperate to prove everyone wrong; remember Seinfeld was almost cancelled after three episodes, and it turned out to be aruguably the greatest show in television history. Not to say that this episode of Whitney is make-or-break, but the show needs to turn around if it’s going to receive a second season.
The promos for “Silent Treatment” promised that Whitney would voluntarily be quiet throughout the episode. This gave me high hopes that the rest of the characters would get the chance to pull together an honestly funny episode. While in a coffee shop Whitney catches Alex checking out an attractive girl, and we are finally treated to the unfunny “Sponge-boob Sweatpants” joke that was featured in the pre-season commercials. The laugh track found it to be inspirational; however, I’m sure the audience was just shaking its collective head at the miss of the joke. His denial that the incident occurred sends Whitney into a frenzy, including a whine session in a dressing room—the equivalent to locker room talk for men.
Whitney, Roxanne and Lily superficially talk about clothing and what makes a good Facebook page. Discussing social media can be clever if done right (NBC’s 30 Rock and Up All Night have done it), but somehow the ladies of Whitney just make it seem petty. Eventually this leads the girls to stage a photo shoot for Roxanne, who needs to update her Facebook profile to make her more appealing to men. Roxanne is again the voice of the general public and sees how contrived the actions of Whitney and Lily are.
Meanwhile, Alex, Mark and Neal discuss how he really did look at the girl. Mark says he should fess up because he did nothing wrong, while Neal goes into a long diatribe about how women feel insecure. One positive of this show has always been the slight diversity in the characters and how they are relatable.
When Whitney and Alex get into an argument about “Sponge-Boob Sweatpants” he shushes her. For the first time I actually laughed out loud. Shushing is a big no-no, and the immediate fear on Alex’s face shows he knows it. Her plan backfires when Alex starts to enjoy the silence. Audiences should have liked it too. We can finally have part of an episode without awkward acting and uncomfortable dialogue. Unfortunately for Alex and the rest of us she realizes he is enjoying life sans her voice and decides to talk non-stop to annoy him.
This episode was a change from previous episodes. While it was still rough around the edges, the meat of the show is getting more tender and bearable. This is definitely the strongest Whitney to date and hopefully it’s the beginning of an upward swing. While dialogue and jokes fall flat sometimes, Cummings’ acting is getting stronger every step of the way. My worries about the freshman sitcom are getting smoothed out, albeit slowly.