So, Whitney premiered last Thursday. As NBC's shining new sitcom. It naturally premiered at the end of their hottest comedy lineup– Community, Parks & Recreation and The Office.
To be completely honest, I have no idea what the ratings for the show's debut were, I only know that the minute the show came on, something was off. It took me a second to figure out what was wrong, but as soon as I did I couldn't ignore it. Although Whitney is "filmed in front of a live studio audience," the show has obvious, shall we say, "laughter enhancements." "Laugh augmentation?" OK, it has a laugh track.
Now, in the TV sitcom world laugh tracks aren't foreign. Many successful shows have had laugh tracks. Friends. Saved by the Bell. Hogan's Heroes. And so on. But none of those shows premiered after an hour and a half of laugh trackless TV. Thus, Whitney stood out like a sore thumb. After spending most of my evening laughing when I felt like it, when I truly found something to be funny, I was suddenly being told what was funny and when to laugh.
It could be argued that in many ways NBC innovated the traditional American sitcom template with shows like 30 Rock, The Office, Community and Parks and Rec. The question is, when you've seen the future, how do you revert back to the past? We likely wouldn't return to using cars without catalytic converters, computers without wi-fi or phones without text messages. We've moved on. So, how can we be expected to follow a laugh track?