Whitney, Season 1 Episode 13: Codependance Day

A reveiw by Loki100

AV Club Link: http://www.avclub.com/articles/regional-holiday-music,66270/#comment-428067546 (Page 89)

Whitney has attracted a great deal of undo criticism from people who fail to realize the grand nature of Whitney Cummings's vision. Whitney is a deeply personal psychological drama about very troubled young women and harsh nature of greater society towards those whom it outcasts.

Whitney (played to perfection by Whitney Cummings) is a paranoid schizophrenic suffering from multiple delusions and who has dissociative identity disorder. Whitneyboldly chooses to portray its world from the subjectivity of Whitney's mind rather than attempt the more obvious objective third person. Therefore we see her multiple personalities flit about as if they were real people, while the show itself acknowledges the conceit that they are merely psychological projections of malformed identities within the Whitney character's mind by having those personalities be so thinly drawn and behave in such inhuman ways.

Cummings wisely chooses to portray the Whitney character wooden and dead-behind-the-eyes, indicating the sort of trauma that triggered the onset of her mental illness. Her "boyfriend" Alex (Chris D'Elia) represents a personality that acts in a superego capacity, attempting to negotiate the Whitney character into self-sufficiency. The central conflict of the series is the dysfunctional nature of the "relationship" between the Whitney character and the Alex personality. The fact that they are "dating" is indicative of how the Whitney character is attempting to heal her deeply fractured mind, and she analogizes it as some sort of romantic relationship as she is incapable of understanding that she is attempting to reintegrate her multiple personalities into a cohesive self.

Throughout the show, riotous laughter will be heard as if it is an invisible Greek chorus. It represents greater society intruding upon the Whitney character's life. Obviously the Whitney character is meant to be homeless, the various sets the show uses are just projections of her mind. The laughter is the cruel laughter of people who see what must seem like a disheveled, crazed woman talking to herself.

Whitney is a brilliant deconstruction of what it means to be mentally ill in contemporary American society. But sadly so many people are incapable of seeing its penetrating social criticism and instead think it is a terrible show about vagina "jokes" (one would think the complete lack of humor in such "jokes" would be a tip that they weren't meant to be funny, just an indicative of the deeply deluded, deeply disturbed central woman's mental issues).

Grade: A+




  • Brilliant analysis. Whitney is such a deep and layered show.

  • Guest

    Wow, what is this… I don't… even…

    I fear this might be an attempt on Loki100 's part to reframe the trauma of sitting through a Whitney episode into a narrative of control and self-empowerment. It's a daunting endeavor, but not beyond one's reach provided he stays away from Chelsea. I cannot stress that enough.

    Seriously though, this is just fantastic. Armond White should be jealous.

  • Loki100

    I doubt I could write anything as brilliant as Armond White's review of Jack and Jill as metaphor for the Jewish experience in America.

  • Thank you kindly! Your review of Whitney was orgasmically delicious!

  • Guest

    Wow. I just read that Jack and Jill review and I think I'm having a stroke of some kind. Just… wow.

    I mean, on one hand, it makes a weird kind of sense. On the other hand, it's goddamn Jack and Jill. My feeling is the guy never actually saw the movie, and just pulled all this stuff out of his ass, based on nothing more than the trailer and a few production notes.

    The dude's a troll. A highly educated, brilliant troll. It's like performance art.

  • Obviously he's trolling, but that review serves as a cautionary tale; it's what happens when you analyze things that don't deserve analysis. This Whitney review is much the same way (but of course it's awesome because Loki's aware of it).

  • I would watch this show.

  • This is brilliant! Incredibly written and very funny.

  • Watch it, or you're going to make the next Whitney promo.

    "Brilliant!  Incredibly written and very funny" says Stephen77 !

  • Maybe I'm just in a good mood but that provoked an actual lol.

  • LosPollosHermanos

    dammit now I have to watch the entire season

  • What is happening and how do we get back to our timeline?

    Walter, you have to help me with the machine!

  • I'm afraid Loki might have just had a psychotic break due to Whitney exposure. This is like the TV review version of Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas. 

  • We'll know for sure if Loki starts posting about how everything is made of clay.

  • He told you, it's not clay. We're silicone bodies with ball-and-socket armatures

  • Holy schnikes, this is incredible.

  • I'm cumming. Excellent work kid.

  • I would almost watch Whitney just to pretend it's actually as you described and laugh.  But I'm afraid somehow, somewhere my watching would count and give Whitney ratings.

    I will, however, henceforth re-frame all laugh tracks on bad comedies as " the cruel laughter of people who see what must seem like a disheveled, crazed woman talking to herself."  So thank you.

  • Wait a second…this isn't the AV Club!  It's the VA Clan!  WHERE AM I?!?!?