Monday, January 30, 2012


Jeff walks into a room where Michael is sitting.
MICHAEL: Whoa, look at you! Why are you all dressed up?
JEFF: I have a date tonight.
MICHAEL: You’re kidding. Who would go out with you?
JEFF: Your sister.
And with that, we’re off on what could turn out to be a rollicking situation comedy adventure. Or it might turn out to be another tedious trudge through territory we’ve visited countless times before. But after only four lines of dialogue, we’ve met two characters, Jeff and Michael. We’ve gotten a glimpse into their relationship, although we don’t know what their relationship is; are they co-workers? Friends? Siblings (ew)? We’ve established a source of conflict that the characters will have to resolve. We’ve even gotten our first “joke”. As you can see, it’s a format that’s very easy to navigate for the lazy writer. It’s a format that unfortunately spews forth things like “Whitney”.
Before we go any further, I feel like I need to state that not all sitcoms are garbage. This same genre also gave us “Cheers”, “Seinfeld”, “Taxi” and literally too many truly great shows to mention. This might be an overly obvious statement but I think that not making it puts this little rant at risk of being seen as yet another pretentious, highbrow, already-done-to death screed against television.
Even more important, let me state that over the last year or so, I have made a conscious effort to cut down on “hating” stuff that other people might enjoy. That’s because I realized it takes a special kind of judgmental, arrogant jerk to intentionally piss all over the source of another individual’s happiness and I’m a bad enough person as it is that I don’t need to add that element to the stew. Here’s a link to an excellent article at that does a good job of illustrating what I’m talking about. I came to this realization after something I wrote here resulted in an uncharacteristically bitter exchange between me and a friend that I still feel bad about, even though those fences have long-since been mended. Who needs that? It’s taken a long time to get to the point where I accept that an individual’s tastes are subjective and are no indication of superiority or inferiority. And while I still use this place to criticize and condemn things I don’t like, and probably always will, I try to do so in a rational, civil manner, offering thought-out reasons for feeling the way I do and never with the primary intent of hurting anyone’s feelings.
All of this is to say that in spite of everything, I hate the show “Whitney” and I don’t care whose feelings are hurt. If you like it, I’m sorry…and I mean that sincerely; I really am…but you like a shitty tv show. It doesn’t make me feel good to say that.
What’s worse than me hating it is that I like to hate it. I’d miss it if were to be cancelled. I don’t have a chance to see it every week, but when I do, I sit down and watch it from start to finish. And I hate every single second of it. That can’t be healthy, can it? I wouldn’t think so, but man oh man it feels sooooo good.
"Whitney" is a situation comedy about a woman and her boyfriend as they navigate the wacky world of modern relationships. They love each other and live together but they don't want to get married. I told you it was wacky! Here's some highlights for a recent episode, which is exactly like every other episode.
Here's the boyfriend and Whitney at a bar. I think she's wincing in anticipation of all the groans she's about to induce.

"Whine, whine, moan, moan, men and women are so different"

"Are those my tights?" (this is the actual 'joke' being delivered here)

Ha ha! What a funny dress! Ha ha! What funny socks!

These are two other characters. I don't know their names. In this scene, they've just learned that they do not have sexually transmitted diseases. Seriously.

"I need to learn to shut up some times" (Actual dialogue, spoken about 15 minutes too late)

Fantasy dream sequence...more like a nightmare, because she doesn't want to get married because that wouldn't be wacky.


Number Whisperer said...

Ok, you can't just tease us about the bitter feud without including a link to the post that caused it...

Number Whisperer said...

I'm kidding.

Unknown said...

No, that's a valid question. I meant to include the link. Here it is:

The fight occurred elsewhere; I didn't edit the comments.

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