Tag Archives: whitney cummings

The Rise of Awkward Girls

The NBC sitcom Whitney is cashing in on the popularity of awkward women on TV.

What I hate most about TV sometimes is how together a lot of characters seem in fall shows. These are usually the ones that don’t get picked up for a full season. Thank, God.

Instead of people with only one or two minor problems being passed off as issues, networks seem to be looking to cash in on women so awkward that they make you a little uncomfortable. Two shows definitely fit that bill: Whitney (NBC) and New Girl (FOX).

Whitney (Whitney Cummings) is somehow in a three-year relationship despite her awkardness and complete disregard for social norms. Her boyfriend, Alex (Chris D’Elia), apparently a multi-millionaire after selling an Internet company, puts up with her antics and even plays along with them. After deciding they aren’t having enough sex, Whitney buys a sexy nurse’s uniform and during the sexy role play she makes him fill out paperwork and even takes his insurance card. That doesn’t really scream sexy, does it? She gets even more awkward in the second episode, insisting that they go on the first date they never had and taking their roles to the extreme. She even has an awkward meeting with him by the elevator.

As for New Girl, it’s just as quirky as the previews made it seem. Jess (Zooey Deschanel) can never do anything without adding some kind of awkwardness to it. In the pilot, she makes an entrance in a LBD and right after her roommates compliment her, she does a terrifyingly quirky little dance move. The second episode shows her driving around in circles because she’s afraid to get her belongings from her former boyfriend’s house. She’s a complete quirky disaster in the third episode, trying to help her roommate make his ex jealous by pretending to be his girlfriend. All she does is make fake pregnancy allegations and plead to wear false buck teeth. If she weren’t odd enough, Jess also frequently sings her own theme song under her breath.

A few years ago, characters like this wouldn’t have made it past two episodes, but both have been picked up for a full season. Can you imagine if Carrie Bradshaw or Mary Tyler Moore had this many quirks in the first season? I think the success comes from the fact that women in their target age group are becoming more comfortable with being a little different.

Although, I love Whitney, I remain on the fence about New Girl. Jess crosses the line between quirky and just unrelatably insane way too much. I’m also not crazy about Winston, a roommate added in the second episode. I preferred Damon Wayans Jr.’s coach character because he was awkward in all the right ways. Winston just seems lost. It’s a trait he shares with the story line.

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