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TV Preview: The Paul Reiser Show

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Ever wonder about what celebrities do when they’re just hanging around the house? Jerry Seinfeld revealed what this was like in Seinfeld, a show about himself, his friends, and…nothing. Larry David (co-creator of Seinfeld) took that premise one step further with Curb Your Enthusiasm, playing a twisted version of himself: a guy who spends his time proving how much of a schmuck he is.

The Paul Reiser Show could well be the love child of Seinfeld and Curb. Reiser plays himself enjoying a quiet life at home since his hit TV show Mad About You went off the air. He is beginning to get restless being out of the spotlight. Yes, he enjoys the company of his wife, Claire (Amy Landecker), and kids but lately he’s thinking that there’s got to be something more.

Of course he has an odd group of friends to help him in his quest to figure this out. He didn’t choose them; they’re husbands of his wife’s friends and the dads of his kids’ schoolmates. They include Jonathan (Ben Shenkman), Habib (Omid Djalili), Fernando (Duane Martin) and Brad (Andrew Daly).

Together they boldly embark on an adventure of sorts, seeing Reiser through situations such as auditioning for producer Mark Burnett’s new game show against (surprise!) Larry David, getting a little too involved with the kids’ school projects, making nice with the intimidating Terrance (guest star Henry Rollins), who accuses Reiser of hurting his chances of getting a plum film role.

Reiser is generally a decent guy who gets lots of things wrong. He is not as cold and uncaring as Larry David; he is less a schmuck and more of a nebbish. There was a silliness rather than quirkiness to the four episodes I watched. When Reiser asks Habib to catch a cat roaming his property, Habib’s antics are slapstick all the way. He races around the lawn, shaking the obviously fake animal “attacking” him, with Reiser placidly looking on. Another time, Reiser becomes a spokesman for a tool company, which inspires him to fix or attempt to fix everything in his world, with not always the best results.

Although Reiser and company are likable, the comedy is fairly tame. If Reiser and his writing partner Jonathan Shapiro would take a few more chances, like Curb and Seinfeld, the shows that inspired them, this show would be better for it.

The Paul Reiser Show will air Thursdays at 8:30 PM ET on NBC.

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