NBC has released the first clips for all their new 2011-2012 comedies: Whitney, Up All Night, Free Agents, Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea, Best Friends Forever, and Bent. Nothing hooked me immediately, but it’s hard to distill sitcoms into a 60-second clip filled with laughs. Based on first impressions, my top pick is Bent. I’ve really enjoyed David Walton in previous NBC comedies Perfect Couples and 100 Questions — I hope Bent is the one that keeps him on the air for more than a half-season. Plus, any show that includes Jeffrey Tambor weekly has a leg up on the competition. Arrested Development love will likewise ensure that I check out Will Arnett in Up All Night, especially when you surround him with two very funny ladies in Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph — I just wish the humor wasn’t so baby-centric.
We’ve embedded one clip from each show below, but there is a link to more videos at the end of each section.
‘WHITNEY’ — A hilarious look at modern love, “Whitney” is a new multi-camera comedy series about Whitney (Whitney Cummings, “Chelsea Lately”) and Alex (Chris D’Elia, “Glory Daze”), a happily unmarried couple. Together for five years, the duo is in no rush to get hitched. However, after attending yet another one of their friends’ weddings, Whitney realizes that she and Alex are dangerously close to relationship boredom. Determined not to let that happen, Whitney consults her close circle of opinionated girlfriends — including Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones, “The Other Guys”) and Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn, “The Starter Wife”) — and then snaps into action. A few awkward sexy costumes and one botched seductive evening later, the couple ends up in the emergency room. Even so, Whitney and Alex realize that while their relationship might not be perfect on paper, they really do love each other — and that works for them. Also starring are Maulik Pancholy (NBC’s “30 Rock”) as Lily’s perfect boyfriend, and Dan O’Brien (“How I Met Your Mother”) as an eternal bachelor. “Whitney” is produced by Universal Media Studios and Scott Stuber Productions. Stuber (“The Break Up”), Quan Phung, Betsy Thomas (“My Boys”) and Barry Katz (“Last Comic Standing”) are executive producers. Cummings also serves as executive producer/writer. Andy Ackerman (“Seinfeld,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine”) is an executive producer and directed the pilot.
Up All Night
‘UP ALL NIGHT’ — From Emily Spivey (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”) and legendary Emmy Award-winning producer Lorne Michaels, comes “Up All Night,” a modern take on parenthood that shows the challenges of balancing a career, marriage and a new baby. Christina Applegate (“Samantha Who?”) stars as Reagan, a successful public relations executive, and Will Arnett (“Arrested Development”) plays Chris, Reagan’s supportive, stay-at-home husband. The two have just become parents – a surprise that has set their lives on a new path as responsible adults — for the most part. Maya Rudolph (“Saturday Night Live,” “Bridesmaids”) stars as Ava, Reagan’s outlandish boss and best friend, whose whirlwind social escapades serve as constant reminders of Reagan’s former carefree life. James Pumphrey (“High Road”) portrays Brian, Reagan’s socially awkward hipster assistant. “Up All Night” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Broadway Video. Spivey is the creator and serves as executive producer along with Michaels and Jon Pollack (NBC’s “30 Rock”).
‘FREE AGENTS’ – “Free Agents” is a crooked workplace/romantic new comedy from creator John Enbom (“Party Down”) and Emmy Award-winning director Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle”) based on the cult U.K. series of the same name that explores the trials and tribulations of two public relations executives on the rebound. Alex (Hank Azaria, “The Simpsons,” “Huff”) is newly divorced and can barely keep himself together while his co-worker Helen (Kathryn Hahn, “Hung”) thinks she has it together but is obsessed with her deceased fiancé and actually is falling apart. Then a drunken Alex and Helen end up in bed together, and in the resulting sober confusion, Helen decides that they should only be friends. Meanwhile Alex’s co-workers, Dan (Mo Mandel, “Love Bites,” “Modern Family”) and Gregg (Al Madrigal, “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Gary, Unmarried”), and Stephen (Anthony Head, “Merlin,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) fail in their attempts to help him get back out on the dating scene. When Alex finally agrees to a date, Helen gets a little jealous, and he gets cold feet, so they end up back where they started — in a casual, intimate and beautifully awkward relationship. Also starring is Joe Lo Truglio (“Backwash,” “Mad Love”) and Natasha Leggero (“Ugly Americans,” “’Til Death”). “Free Agents” is a production of Universal Media Studios in association with Dark Toy and Big Talk Productions. Enbom is executive producer/creator along with executive producer/director Holland. Karey Burke (“Miss/Guided”) executive-produces, along with Big Talk Productions’ Kenton Allen (“Free Agents,” BBC Network) and Nira Park, as well as Chris Niel.
Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea
‘ARE YOU THERE VODKA? IT’S ME, CHELSEA’ — Inspired by the best-selling book from comedienne/talk show host Chelsea Handler (“Chelsea Lately”), the new comedy “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,” follows the exploits of twentysomething bartender Chelsea (Laura Prepon, “That ’70s Show”) a strong-willed force of nature who is determined to live life to the fullest and make no apologies. Her friends are along for the ride but they all know it is Chelsea’s way or the highway. Mark (Jo Koy, “Chelsea Lately”) is a charming bartender whose wit makes him the perfect foil for Chelsea while Shoniqua (Angel Laketa Moore, “ER”) is a smart and sassy fellow waitress who looks out for Chelsea’s best interests. Close friend and fellow bartender Todd (Mark Povinelli, “Water for Elephants”) has a wry sense of humor that keeps her in check. Also starring are Natalie Morales (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) as Ivory, Chelsea’s feisty best friend; Lauren Lapkus (“The Middle”) as Dee Dee, Chelsea’s sheltered, shy roommate, and Lenny Clarke (“Rescue Me”) as Chelsea’s dad, Melvin. Handler has a recurring role as Chelsea’s sister Sloan, a happily married new mom who has little in common with her carefree sister. “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea” is a production of Warner Bros. Television in association with Werner Entertainment and Borderline Amazing Productions. Dottie Dartland Zicklin (“Dharma & Greg”) and Julie Larson (“The Drew Carey Show”) are creators and executive producers. Handler serves as executive producer along with Tom Werner (“That ’70s Show”), Mike Clements (“The Life & Times of Tim”) and Tom Brunelle (“Chelsea Lately”).
Best Friends Forever
‘BEST FRIENDS FOREVER’ — “Best Friends Forever” is a single-camera comedy that takes a look at what happens when best friends promise to support each other — no matter what the cost or circumstances. When Jessica’s (Jessica St. Clair, “In the Motherhood”) husband files for divorce, she immediately seeks comfort and flies across the country to move back in with her best friend, Lennon (Lennon Parham, “Accidentally on Purpose”). Unfortunately, Lennon’s boyfriend, Joe (Adam Pally, “Happy Endings”), has just moved into the apartment and has turned Jessica’s old room into his perfect home office. As Lennon and Jessica fall into their old routines — beloved traditions, Steel Magnolia marathons and epic girl-talk sessions — Joe begins to feel as if he’s the odd man out. While Lennon struggles to find balance between her previous life with Jessica and her new life with Joe, Jessica’s reentry to single life is complicated by the unresolved feelings that an old friend, Rav (Stephen Schneider, “The Funniest Movie Ever…Just Kidding”), has for her and the fact that pleated khakis aren’t the most flattering single girl look. “Best Friends Forever” is produced by Universal Media Studios and American Work. St. Clair, Parham, Scot Armstrong (“Old School,” “The Hangover Part II”) and Ravi Nandan (“Off Duty”) are the executive producers. Fred Savage (“Party Down”) directed the pilot.
‘BENT‘ — “Bent” is a new romantic comedy about two people who suddenly find themselves attracted to the qualities that typically repel them. On the surface, Alex (Amanda Peet, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”) and Pete (David Walton, “Perfect Couples”) could not be more different. The recently divorced Alex is a resilient and tough lawyer who now is raising her eight-year-old daughter, Charlie (Joey King, “Ramona and Beezus”), as a single mom. Unwilling to let anything get in her way, she downsizes into a smaller house, and she hires Pete, a recovering gambling addict and unapologetic womanizer, as the contractor to re-do her kitchen. The remodeling job is Pete’s last chance to prove that he is no longer a screw-up — but he doesn’t know what’s about to hit him when he encounters the force of nature that is Alex — nor does she realize that she’s met her match in Pete, a man unafraid to call out her flaws. Jeffrey Tambor (“Arrested Development”) also stars as Pete’s father, Walt, an out-of-work actor, while Margo Harshman (“Sorority Row”) stars as Alex’s wild younger sister Screwsie. This romantic comedy from writer and executive producer Tad Quill (“Scrubs,” “Spin City”) and director Craig Zisk (“Nurse Jackie,” “Weeds”) will prove that these resilient characters are “bent, not broken.”