Friday, February 18, 2011

Pilot Review: Mad Love

Mad Love (CBS)
Premiered February 14 at 9:30pm

Well this premiere certainly isn’t too impressive. I sort of wish that I hadn’t read beforehand that many were pegging it as a “How I Met Your Mother” clone, though I guess I probably would have figured that out on my own. Despite knowing plenty of diehard fans, I’m not actually a full-fledged HIMYM proponent, but I can appreciate the appeal of that show, particularly when it comes to the endearing cast. Sadly, that’s not the case here, and it’s even more of a shame because I really like three of the players. Sarah Chalke was marvelous in her role on “Scrubs,” at least in the first few seasons, and it’s only reasonable that she wouldn’t be able to find a role nearly as classic and terrific as that. She’s peppy enough here, but the role is generally vapid. Tyler Labine can be good in limited doses, and “Reaper” was a great showcase for him. I don’t comprehend why he’s the narrator – this doesn’t seem like his story at all. I’m continually saddened for the lovely Judy Greer, whose last show, “Miss/Guided,” others liked but I didn’t. She needs a good role, and TV just isn’t giving it to her at this point. I don’t have anything too kind to say about Jason Biggs since he doesn’t contribute much to the show. All of the events in this premiere seem very forced and most of the humor falls flat. It’s a shame, because TV could use some good traditional laugh-track sitcoms, and CBS used to be good at providing them. As compared with something rather lowbrow like “Two and a Half Men,” this is tame. As compared with something of actual semi-quality like HIMYM, this is significantly less funny and less interesting.

How will it work as a series? This show’s premise seems to depend heavily upon the idea of fate and people being destined for each other, but that all about seems wrapped up by episode’s end. Presumably they won’t stay a couple forever but will instead be best friends, but then the show’s lost much of its appeal. And I’m still confused about why Labine is the one narrating…
How long will it last? Even if it didn’t perform as well as the rest of CBS’ Monday night comedy block, it did do better than one show I often cite as an example of inexplicable repeat renewals, “Rules of Engagement,” which used to occupy the same time slot. CBS has burned off plenty of ineffective sitcom ideas over the past few years, and I don’t see this show being one of the few that actually makes it.

Pilot grade: D-

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