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TV Review: 'Partners'

Partners

The Bottom Line

One guy is straight, the other is gay. They've been friends forever. Now they work together. And they talk incessantly and annoyingly.

Cast
David Krumholtz
Michael Urie
Sophia Bush
Brandon Routh

Creators
David Kohan
Max Mutchnick

 

A CBS sitcom that would have worked well in the late 1980s.

Partners is one of those sitcoms that looks like a sitcom you saw maybe 20 years ago. Unfortunately, it's a freshman entry in 2012's fall season.

Essentially based on its creators, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick (who created Will & Grace but also Good Morning, Miami and $#*! My Dad Says, among others), the series is hoping viewers find the gay-straight friend thing as funny and interesting as the creators do.

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Don't bet on it. CBS usually can make anything work but has its work cut out with Partners, premiering at 8:30 p.m. Monday. There's no chemistry at all between stars David Krumholtz and Michael Urie, which is problematic. And yet the bigger issue is their characters (Joe and Louis, respectively) are both annoying. And not just a little annoying -- a stop-watching-the-show amount of annoying.

Beyond that, there's no chemistry at all between Joe and his fiancee, Ali (Sophia Bush), and definitely no chemistry between Louis and his boyfriend Wyatt (Brandon Routh). Of course, worrying about their significant others means you'd have to care about either Joe or Louis in the first place. You certainly won't in the first episode, which severely reduces the likelihood you'll stick around to see if they get fleshed out. Joe, who stands around grumbling and riffing on Louis' comments, comes off flat or like he's in a stage play. Louis comes off as a gay cartoon, and his combination of sassy and smarmy will send viewers scrambling for the remote.

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Look, Kohan and Mutchnick are seemingly good guys. They made a fantastic sitcom that was also an enormous hit -- Will & Grace -- and then some others that were neither. When the duo came before the Television Critics Association this summer, they were like an old couple -- one of them finishing the other's sentences. But even then, they seemed a little too enamored with their own story. Lots of people have great friends. Many times those friends are, in some way, an odd couple. That doesn't mean they get their own show.

Of course, Kohan and Mutchnick are in the television business and were able to make Partners and sell it, too. But you'd think that if a show is essentially about you, more effort might be put into making it funny and the people playing you likable. Partners plays like an idea written on a napkin, if that, and looks like it's from another era (a long past era, if that wasnt' clear). If this was a passion project for these real-life creative partners, the question is, "Where's the passion?"

Email: Tim.Goodman@THR.com