September 26, 2012
Why Partners Might Be Better Than You Think
Sometimes when I watch a pilot I know right away that I'm going to love the show. Veronica Mars, The West Wing, Alias, My So-Called Life, and Friday Night Lights had perfect pilot episodes. A lot of shows do. But sometimes I watch a pilot (or even just part of a pilot) and decide right away that the show is not for me only to come back to it weeks, months or years later and find out that I could not have been more wrong. Teen Wolf and Nikita are two recent instances of this phenomenon that come to mind. Then there are the times that I watch a pilot and I honestly don't know how to feel about it. This is the category Partners falls into.
I'm not a person who has an aversion to the single camera sitcom format on its face - I adore The Big Bang Theory and my great love of Melissa and Joey is my secret shame - but I'm also not a person who'd voluntarily watch most of the "broad" single camera comedies currently on TV. A lot of money would need to change hands before I'd sit through an entire episode of Two and a Half Men, Mike and Molly, that Tim Allen show ABC foisted on America last year, etc. So I came into Partners with a clean slate, wanting to like it.
I didn't like it. Hardly any of the jokes (maybe even none of the jokes) were funny and several of them got call backs to remind me how not funny they were the first time by making them even less funny the second time. Brandon Routh's Wyatt could have easily been played by a cardboard cut-out of Brandon Routh and...well, now that I think about it, maybe Wyatt was being played by a cardboard cut-out of Brandon Routh. That would explain some things. The tone was manic and shrill and the editing was weird.
But I also didn't hate it because I'm not sure that the pilot is a fair representation of what the show will ultimately become. When Cougartown first aired I thought it was kind of meh. It wasn't unfunny but it wasn't great and it was just one joke. A few episodes later that wasn't the joke anymore and the show was hilarious. Partners is just one joke right now but David Krumholtz, Michael Urie and Sophia Bush are all really likable actors capable of being funny so I'm willing to give it a few episodes to shed that one joke and spread out into something genuine and funny. Something worthy of the actors who are in it.
And who knows, maybe the real Brandon Routh will show up in a subsequent episode and his cardboard cut-out will go make "I have a heart on" jokes outside of a WeHo Starbucks where he belongs.