TITLE: WHITNEY - SEASON ONE
DVD Release Date: October 9, 2012 (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
Packaging: Viva case
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: approx. 7 hours, 44 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 12 minutes (not counting the commentaries)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel
* 2 Audio Commentaries with Whitney Cummings and Chris D'Elia
Comedienne Whitney Cummings (Chelsea Lately, co-creator of 2 Broke Girls) stars in this hilarious portrait of modern love and relationships. Follow Whitney (Whitney Cummings) and Alex (Chris D'Elia, Workaholics), a happily unmarried couple, and their eclectic circle of friends: romantic Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones, The Other Guys), newly divorced Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn, The Starter Wife), sensitive Renaissance man Neal (Maulik Pancholy, 30 Rock) and self-proclaimed player Mark (Dan O'Brien, How I Met Your Mother) as they discover the tough and often surprising truths of relationships. Watch all 22 Season One episodes uninterrupted in this 3-disc set, featuring incredibly funny guest stars Peter Gallagher (The O.C.), Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle), John Cleese (Monty Python), Kathy Griffin (Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List) and Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately).
Whitney premiered on NBC on September 22, 2011. The show originally aired on Thursday nights at 9:30pm. It was moved in January to Wednesdays at 8pm. In the "Pilot" episode, when Whitney and Alex, a happily unmarried couple, attend one of their friends' wedding, Whitney realizes that she and Alex are dangerously close to relationship boredom after three years together. When Whitney realizes that she and Alex have never gone on an official first date, she comes up with an unusual idea to recreate the past in "First Date." After Whitney catches Alex checking out a hot girl she decides that the best punishment for her boyfriend is the silent treatment in "Silent Treatment." Whitney hearing about Lily and Neal's engagement leads to a competition between Alex and Whitney to see who can be more romantic in "A Decent Proposal." After an argument about Alex's tone of voice, Whitney and Mark set up a hidden camera to help prove her point in "The Wire." After getting into an unusually emotional argument, Mark and Alex "break up" in "Two Broke-Up Guys." When Whitney and Alex go on a double date with Roxanne, Whitney is surprised to learn that Alex had a full life before he met her in "Getting to Know You." When Alex's childhood dog passes away, Whitney suggests they adopt a dog together in "Clarence." Lisa Lampanelli guest stars as Mrs. Janks.
Alex convinces a stressed-out Whitney to see a therapist (guest star Chelsea Handler) for help with her insomnia, but the prescribed solution only wreaks more havoc in "Up All Night." Whitney and Alex come up with a scheme to spread Christmas with their friends instead of their families, but a white lie causes their plans to unravel in "Christmas is Cummings." Jane Kaczmarek and Peter Gallagher guest star as Whitney's parents. Whitney becomes upset when Alex refuses to share the password to his phone in "Private Parts." Whitney is asked to be Lily's Maid of Honor and has to pretend to love wedding planning in "Faking It." Wanting to earn some cash, Whitney takes a job as Roxanne's assistant and agrees to be her office spy in "Codependence Day." Kathy Griffin guest stars as Lindsay. Feelings of jealousy spur Alex and Whitney to see a couples' therapist (guest star John Cleese) who assigns at-home exercises that bring awkwardness instead of intimacy in "Mind Games." When Roxanne's ex-husband comes back to town, Whitney does her best to prove that he's not a changed man in "Lance!"
After Mark tells the group his theory on love, they flashback three years to when Whitney and Alex first met, and see how they fell in love in "48 Hours." Trying out a new, shapelier bra, Whitney gets more than she bargains for when she entices Alex with her "enhanced" look in "Mad Women." When confronted by a mugger, Whitney's reaction surprises both herself and Alex in "Homeland Security." When Whitney finds a box of stuff from Alex's old girlfriend in the basement, she confronts Alex about it in "The Ex Box." The group realizes that they haven't heard from Neal in a while, so Whitney and Alex decide to make a surprise visit to his apartment, and find him on a date with a man in "The G Word." Whitney laughs it off when Alex returns from a bachelor party drunk and proposing marriage, but she isn't smiling when she learns that he spent time with a stripper in "Something Old, Something New." Alex and Whitney head to City Hall with plans to say "I do," but at every turn the universe conspires against them in "Something Black, Something Blue."
All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of over 21 minutes. The episodes are in their original NBC broadcast order.
The broadcast and production order (the order in which they were made) differed for episodes 4-7. There's nothing on the packaging to indicate that any of the music was substituted for this DVD release. Here are the runtimes:
First Date (21:07)
Silent Treatment (21:02)
A Decent Proposal (21:03)
The Wire (21:07)
Two Broke-Up Guys (21:07)
Getting to Know You (21:08)
Up All Night (21:08)
Christmas is Cummings (21:08)
Private Parts (21:06)
Faking It (21:06)
Codependence Day (21:09)
Mind Games (21:09)
48 Hours (21:07)
Mad Women (21:08)
Homeland Security (21:02)
The Ex Box (21:07)
The G Word (21:07)
Something Old, Something New (21:07)
Something Black, Something Blue (21:08)
All 22 episodes from season one (2011-12) are included. The packaging is a clear plastic Viva case that is held inside an outer cardboard sleeve. Both the case and sleeve have the same design. A promotional photo of Whitney Cummings and Chris D'Elia is used as the cover art. The show logo is above them. The plastic case slides out from the top or bottom of the cardboard sleeve. On the back of the sleeve/case, there's a cast photo of the six main season one cast members. There are four additional episode snapshots, including guest stars Kathy Griffin and Chelsea Handler, at the bottom. A synopsis of the series, a listing of the bonus features, and the DVD specs are provided. Another photo of Cummings and D'Elia is used on the spine of the sleeve/case. Inside the case, the episode titles and short summaries are listed by disc. The bonus features are also noted by disc. There's another large photo of Cummings and D'Elia. Discs 1 and 2 are held in a flip holder in the center of the case. Disc 3 is in an embedded holder in the back of the case. An insert is included that promotes the new NBC sitcom Go On and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Jaws on Blu-ray. The discs are very plain looking, with just the show logo and text printed in teal. Disc 1 holds episodes 1-8. Disc 2 holds episodes 9-15. Disc 3 rounds out the set with episodes 16-22.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are very basic and easy to navigate. The main menu uses the same photo as the cover art. A teal-striped background is used. There are options for play all, episode index, bonus, set and prviews (only on Disc 1). There's a white arrow next to the option you highlight that turns black upon your selection. When you choose episode index, it takes you to another menu where there is a vertical listing of the episodes in white text. You can turn/off the English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing on the setup menu. Some photos on the sub-menus would have been nice. They are just too generic looking. Previews (7:36) are available for various Universal shows on DVD, including House, Monk, Covert Affairs, In Plain Sight, and Parenthood. Additional trailers for Bring It On: The Musical, 100 years of Universal Pictures and Blu-ray combo packs are also available. When you first insert disc 1, there are even more trailers for Smash - Season One on DVD, The Office - Season Eight on DVD and Blu-ray, Parks and Recreation - Season Four on DVD, 30 Rock - Seasons 1-5 on DVD, and the new NBC sitcom Go On. Chapter stops are available, but they could be placed better. There's no chapter stop before the closing tag and end credits.
Video and Audio Quality:
As you might expect for a show that just aired within the last year, the episodes look excellent. They are presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1 format. Whitney is a multi-camera sitcom that is shot on film. Most of the scenes are shot on sets in front of a live studio audience. There are a few nice transitional shots of Chicago used. The picture is very sharp and clean. There are no flaws.
For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are logos for Stuber Television and Universal Media Studios.
The audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. It's at a good volume level. There are no problems with it. All episodes contain English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. The bonus features are not rated and not all subtitled.
The special features aren't plentiful, but they are decent enough for a first season release. They include deleted scenes for six episodes, a gag reel, and two audio commentaries. The audio commentaries offer some good behind the scenes details, but it would have been great to have some other cast and crew interviews talking about the first season. I was a bit surprised there are a few more extras than the recent season one release of Up All Night.
Pilot (:40) - A scene of Chris, Neal and Mark at the jewelry store.
A Decent Proposal (:26) - Mark knocks on a door and talks to a young girl.
Clarence (1:09) - Whitney shows Chris her new raincoat.
Faking It (:51) - Whitney and Chris look at porn on the computer.
Mind Games (:41) - Chris and Mark sit on the couch.
The Ex Box (1:01) - Mark brings Neal some croissants.
Gag Reel (6:54) - Almost 7 minutes of bloopers. Most of the clips are only a few seconds long. There are a few bleeped out words. The cast seems to have a lot of fun.
Commentary with Whitney Cummings and Chris D'Elia on Homeland Security (21:02) - There's some good behind the scenes details in the commentary. The amout of laughter is a bit much at times.
Commentary with Whitney Cummings and Chris D'Elia on Something Old, Something New (21:07) - This was the part one of the two part season finale. Another entertaining and fun commentary.
The 2011-12 TV season was a very successful one for Whitney Cummings. She was the co-creator and executive prdoducer of the CBS hit sitcom 2 Broke Girls. She created, executive produced and starred in her own NBC sitcom. Although Whitney wasn't a critical or ratings hit, it did survive to make it to a second season. Ratings suffered initially because it didn't really fit with the single-camera comedies on Thursdays. When NBC moved it to Wednesday nights, it was leading off the night against some strong competition. They just were never able to find a big audience, with the last half of the season averaging around 4 million viewers. That's just a small but loyal audience these days.
Early reviews of the show were pretty poor. I think the first six or so episodes weren't very good, but the show gradually got better as the season went on. The show may not be a ratings hit, but I think it has some potential if NBC continues to show faith in it. It does have some good things going for it. Whitney Cummings is a very funny and sexy star. Her chemistry with her co-star Chris D'Elia is excellent. They make a very believable couple. I'm not usually a big fan of romantic comedies, but they are funny together. The writing is witty and and at times very outrageous. If you enjoy the 2 Broke Girls type of humor, you will probably also like Whitney. Another positive is the solid ensemble cast. I liked Rhea Seehorn on ABC's short-lived I'm with Her, so it's nice to see her on another sitcom.
Overall, this is a pretty nice set. Season one sets from Universal generally don't have many special features, so it was a pleasant surprise that they included two audio commentaries and a gag reel. You can tell from the commentaries how much Cummings and D'Elia enjoy working together. Whitney really loves to laugh, so she helps make the commentaries entertaining and funny. The show will be moving to Friday nights at 8pm this season. It may seem like a poor timeslot, but there will be a lot less pressure and competition for them on the new night. I think we'll be seeing more comedies on Friday nights in the future. It would be nice to see them have more success in their sophomore season, so it opens the door for more multi-camera sitcoms on NBC's lineup. Season two will reportedly focus more on Whitney and Alex and their relationship and become less of an ensemble show. They want to make the show more like Mad About You, which was one of the best romantic comedies ever made. Not a bad sitcom to pattern yourself after. The second season premiere has been delayed, so stay tuned for the announcement of the new date.
Update: Whitney - Season Two Premiere Delayed
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 10/04/12
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