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TV Review: Partners Premieres on CBS

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You might think that the creators of the Emmy-winning and long running Will and Grace would come up with something unique and exciting for their latest creation. Unfortunately, Partners, premiering tomorrow night (Monday) on CBS falls flat with clichéd characters and dialogue.

In the new series, lifelong friends Joe (David Krumholtz, 10 Things I Hate About You, Serenity) and Louis (Michael Urie, Decoy Bride) grow up to be architects in business together. The hook is that the thoughtful, reserved Louis is straight and flamboyant, over-the-top Joe is gay. In Monday’s first episode, we observe the boys growing up in three quick cut scenes as they create model houses, talk about their dream wives (Louis: Alyssa Milano; Joe: Bette Midler); paryting (Louis: I kissed Phillip’s sister; Joe: I kissed Phillip); without much subtlety, we get it. Not much subtlety there.

But now they’re all grown up; Louis has a girlfriend (soon to be a fiancé) and Joe has a boyfriend he insists on referring to as his “Jewish doctor,” although the boyfriend is actually a Christian nurse. Go figure. Their secretary is a sassy Latina (are there any other kinds in paint-by-the-numbers situation comedies?), and she and the guys banter back and forth with dialogue that might have seemed fresh in 1980, but not so much in 2012.

There is nothing very clever about the show, the situations, even the characters. The laugh track (I’m assuming it’s a laugh track since the laughs came far more often than there was even a hint of a funny line) is intrusive, if not downright annoying. I would have expected much more than this from the Emmy-winning creative team of David Kohan and Max Mutchnick.

To be honest, if you’re looking for a situation comedy that hinges its humor on sexual orientation and relationships, you might be better off to take a look at Jane Espenson’s web series Husbands, which is in season two right now. (You can easily catch up; the webisodes are pretty short). I don’t give Partners much chance for success in CBS’ primetime lineup, so if you want to catch it, do it now before it’s gone.

Partners airs on CBS Monday nights at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her debut novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse comes out October 11 from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."