Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pilot Review: Partners

Partners (CBS)
Premiered September 24 at 8:30pm

Expectations can be key to how enjoyable a series is. CBS is still in the business of manufacturing laugh-track-assisted sitcoms, and they seem to be doing quite well, since people watch their stuff even if critics don’t love it. This show is most touted as coming from the creators of “Will and Grace,” which isn’t a surprise given how familiar the material is, constantly acknowledging the dichotomy of the gay-straight relationship and how both main characters approach situations differently. In the lead, David Krumholtz of “Numbers” and Michael Urie of “Ugly Betty” make a great pair, and their back-and-forth bickering requires no additional perfecting. That said, Urie isn’t nearly as likeable or endearing as he was on “Ugly Betty,” which isn’t to suggest that he was either of those on the former show. This series doesn’t exactly have much potential, since it’s fairly one-note in its premise, but it isn’t agonizingly boring or off-putting. I will say that both Sophia Bush, of “One Tree Hill” fame, and Brandon Routh, best put to use as Shaw on “Chuck,” aren’t terribly well cast as the significant others of the respective parents, with Bush’s character being too widely drawn and Routh’s too narrow. Most of the jokes can be seen coming from a mile away, but it’s standard fare for CBS, which means that the predictability doesn’t necessarily negate it being funny. It’s the kind of show that could be grown into, assuming that its characters also have the potential to grow, which isn’t entirely indicated by this generally decent yet unmemorable pilot.

How will it work as a series? Now that Krumholtz’s Joe and Bush’s Ali are engaged, we’ll likely see some relationship tribulations for them and for Urie’s Louis and Routh’s Wyatt. Their business partnership will also doubtlessly provide a good portion of the plotlines as their personalities clash in their everyday dealings.
How long will it last? Not too long. CBS demands much higher ratings than most other networks, and given the fact that this show’s numbers were much lower than all of the network’s other fare on Monday night, a bright future does not appear to be ahead for this show. There’s no reason for them to axe it right away, but I don’t think it will last the season.

Pilot grade: C+

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