Thursday, September 20, 2012
Review - Partners
W&G was loosely inspired by an event in Kohan and Mutchnick's life and led to eight nearly-always hysterical seasons (show featured a terrific cast including Eric McCormack as Will, Debra Messing as Grace and the magical comic duo of Jack, played by Sean Hayes, and Karen, played by Megan Mullally). Trying for years to put more of their real-life, decades-long friendship on screen, Kohan and Mutchnick finally have in Partners.
If only it was as funny as W&G. It's not, at least the pilot isn't.
I didn't laugh. I barely chuckled. And being that W&G was a show I consistently laughed at, that's a shame.
So what's the problem? I think maybe, at least in the pilot, they're trying way too hard. I swear, when the characters were talking and came to the joke - which they seemed to do with almost every line - the actors actually paused and gave a "look" ... you know, like "insert laugh here" or the way Ricky blatantly reacted to Lucy in I Love Lucy. It worked then. Now, it's just obvious and a little sad.
There's a supporting character, Joe and Louis's assistant in their architecture firm (didn't catch her name), that portrays the worst of the Latino stereotype with the super-heavy accent and, I kid you not, she actually used the line "I will cut you" when putting the guys in their place. Later there was an actual boob-smoosh - no doubt an homage to Jack and Karen. Doesn't replicate here at all.
Then there's Ali, Joe's girlfriend, who's beautiful, successful and clearly wrestling with the fact that she has to share Joe with Louis (with whom she reluctantly does yoga). Nothing new there ... I mean all of Will and Grace's love interests had to deal with the same issue, but with them it was funny, it worked. Here - and to be fair I've only seen the one episode - not so much.
And we have Routh's Wyatt, who is Louis' boyfriend. He's a male nurse, a profession Wyatt's proud of but Louis has a problem with - it's embarrassing to him. So we'll get jokes about that but not enough to sustain the funny. I appreciate Routh wanting to do comedy. He said at the panel that that's what he loved about playing Clark Kent in Superman Returns. Can he pull it off? Only time will tell ... hard to say from the pilot since he didn't have that much to do.
And of course, Will & Grace. See where I'm going with this? If you want a funnier show with this relationship premise and a quartet of comical characters, go with that one.
Partners premieres Monday, Sept. 24 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS.