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New series in focus: NBC’s “Whitney”

Well, this is going to take some getting used to. It’s not as if I haven’t enjoyed CBS multicam set-up/joke sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” on the same Thursday night as clever single-cam NBC comedies “Community,” “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office,” but there is definitely something jarring about the idea that Whitney Cummings’ new series “Whitney” will fit comfortably into the NBC mix at 9:30 p.m.

A first look at “Whitney,” via the clip above, hints at a show that seems trapped in a 1990s comedy style, when so many comedies aped the “What’s the deal with …” approach of “Seinfeld,” only without its sophistication. (Really, do we need to talk about why wedding guests can’t wear white?) But the very last line of the scene gave me hope.

The second clip (featuring Maulik Pancholy of “30 Rock,” which will be on hiatus until midseason) is hit-and-miss, but the third one shows some spark, with Whitney paying extreme attention to detail as a nurse in a sexual fantasy. If it can be this offbeat and amusing on a consistent basis, concerns about “Whitney” being multicam will fade away. Or maybe “Whitney” will lure in all those viewers who for some reason can’t see the brilliance in “Community,” “Parks” and, when it’s on its game, “The Office.”

That being said, perhaps “Whitney” ultimately ends up on Wednesdays sometime next season, if NBC continues with its plan to build comedies between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. but either “Up All Night” or “Free Agents” isn’t up to snuff.

Chris D’Elia, Zoe-Lister Jones, Rhea Seehorn and Dan O’Brien are also part of the cast of “Whitney,” exec produced by Cummings, Quan Phung, Scott Stuber, Betsy Thomas, Barry Katz and director Andy Ackerman.

It should go without saying, but in case it doesn’t, we’re just getting a small taste of these series through these clips, and no conclusive opinion is being or should be formed.


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