Just when we thought TV writers and producers were done with the “group of adult friends sitting in a restaurant booth discussing their problems” format, CBS throws Mad Love in our faces. The show is as trivial as its name suggests.
The premise? Four friends looking for love in New York City. Really. That is it. That is what the show is portraying through 13 episodes of “been there, done that” plots. From uninspired writing, exhausted humour to bland acting, Mad Love leaves no cliché unused.
We see Sarah Chalke try to please us with yet another “girl next door” performance, which bores us to such an extent that we feel thankful for Jason Biggs’ presence if it only distracts us from hers. Biggs’ performance of course is a sequel to everything else he’s acted in so far. With the acting range of a cell phone in a jungle, he takes you on a journey of a young man whose hesitance towards girls, clumsiness and goofy charms has won over the hearts of many women. Because this is new territory for writers. We are further subjected to the familiar routine of modern dating (apparently).
Step 1: Boy meets girl.
Step 2: Boy immediately falls for girl.
Step 3: Girl immediately falls for boy.
Step 4: Boy talks about it at length with his friend and bores his socks off as well.
Step 5: Girl also commences to talk about her deep feelings with friend who is forced to give advice which girl will proceed to ignore.
Step 6: Boy and girl are going through the EXACT SAME FEELINGS at the EXACT SAME TIME and are battling through the awkwardness at the beginning of each episode before revealing to each other how they really feel, by the end of each episode.
So that is two of our friends. How about we move on to the other couple? Different from the first in every possible (and impossible) way, Tyler Labine and Judy Greer provide the only comic relief. This is a silver lining, although it doesn’t say much for a comedy to need comic RELIEF.
Greer plays the usual second fiddle to a less interesting lead actress, and this job she pulls off. Whether she will ever hold her own is debatable but her rapport with Labine is laugh-worthy and I can’t help but think the two were caught in the wrong show, wrong time. Labine’s character is loveable, hilarious and although a bit clichéd, it is the kind of cliché that works.
Is the show a complete fail? Ignoring the fact that it got cancelled after its first season in May, I would say it is the kind of show that if my friend wrote it, I’d be proud. There have been many great shows that have been cancelled because of the presence of better shows at the time. Mad Love is not one of them. Sure it provides comfort to a bored kid on the couch, flipping through channels in search for something to watch. But for that we have Friends reruns.