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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Welcome back Whitney

NBC's Whitney may not be the most popular show out there, but gosh darn it, it has some serious heart, no matter how much it might want to make you believe that it doesn't. This is the attitude of the titular character, Whitney (Whitney Cummings), as we see in the season two premiere, "Bawl and Chain." She may be married to Alex (Chris D'Elia) now, but giving into those feelings of stability aren't really in Whitney's nature.

For many shows, seeing the two lead characters married off to each other would be a late development. Or it would happen before the series begins. It's rare that, not only are Whitney and Alex just dating when Whitney begins, but they tie the knot at the end of the freshman season. Doesn't this destroy the will they-won't they drama?

No. Whitney doesn't buy into that malarkey. For her, it's a journey towards finding something permanent. She has abandonment issues, and it's easy to see why, when her mom (Jane Kaczmarek) pops back in to congratulate the new married couple, only to run off as soon as she learns their marriage isn't officially legal. This is a great reminder of the damage that has been done to Whitney, and why she is the way she is. She needs someone to be with for the long haul, not to jump back and forth between men.

The good news is, Alex is loving and understanding and patient. He may have already been committed to Whitney for years now, but by deciding that they are now married, even if they don't get the piece of paper that proves it, he is telling her that he is sticking around. He also verbally reiterates this a number of times in "Bawl and Chain." It doesn't instantly calm Whitney's fears, but it does show her that she has chosen a good guy who plans on staying with her, and she doesn't have to panic that her marriage will end up like her parents'.

Whitney is relatable because there are plenty of young women out there now like Whitney. Every person under thirty knows someone like her, or is like her themselves. They sometimes come from broken home, sometimes not. But they take a cynical view of the world, and have trouble relying on others. Whether they've been hurt, or they're just afraid of being hurt, they are scared to get too close to someone. Whitney is a message to those types of people that they can find love and happiness, too. And they don't have to take the traditional route, that they lack the desire to follow, to get to it.

Whitney will not be one hundred percent comfortable with Alex anytime soon. That will take a number of seasons, assuming the network will allow it.

Which is good, because the series is funny, and the chemistry between Cummings and D'Elia is fantastic. I know this show doesn't get a lot of love from critics or viewers, but as long as it keeps the focus on the central pair, and doesn't try too hard to make it an ensemble piece, I really enjoy it. "Bawl and Chain" has a little bit of a B story in it, and it's a sweet addition, but the meat of it is Whitney and Alex, so over all, a good return.

Whitney airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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