Tonight, CBS unveils Partners, the second new sitcom in two weeks that includes two gay characters. The New Normal looks like it will be a moderate ratings success for NBC. Will Partners last more than a season for CBS or will it be cancelled instead? Is it even worth watching?
Partners revolves around a pair of best friends — Joe (David Krumholtz), who’s straight, and Louis (Michael Urie), who’s gay. They’ve known each other since grade school and are now partners in an architecture company. Louis’ mate is Wyatt (Brandon Routh), a vegan nurse. Joe is dating Ali (Sophia Bush), a beautiful jewelry designer. Can Louis and Joe’s friendship and working relationship survive the addition of two more “significant others?”
Will audiences care enough to stick around to find out? Here’s the critics are saying:
LA Times: “Partners, which premieres Monday on CBS, is impossible to review without comparing it to other shows… Yet despite, or perhaps because of, its derivative nature Partners is, if not revolutionary, then a monument to the fight: It proves, more than The New Normal or even Modern Family, that being a gay man on TV is no longer a big deal. At least not a big enough deal to serve as the primary story of the show or, unfortunately for CBS, to create any sort of buzz. …
It’s difficult not to hope Partners survives the season. It’s not a bad show, it’s just a bit too familiar. Which is why it’s important. The gayness of Louis and Wyatt here means nothing more, or less, than that characters too often relegated to separate tables have been invited to the big one. There, the chicken may sometimes be a bit chewy and the flowers less than perfect, but the more the merrier, and about darn time.”
Vulture: “I can’t be too hard on this show because (1) the lead actors are appealing and seem like they’re actually friends, (2) their characters are unabashedly based on Kohan and Mutchnick (sorry, guys!), and (3) the pilot is helmed by master sitcom director James Burrows, which means it has Swiss watch timing and a dash of shtick. With its stock supporting characters (Ali and Wyatt are attractive blanks) and its lame central contrivance, this is not a great pilot, but it’s far from an awful one.”
USA Today: “Funny on TV is not the same as funny in life. When it comes to writing sitcoms, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick are clearly capable of being very amusing men, as they proved with Will & Grace. True, they did come a cropper with $#*! My Dad Says, but you’d have good reason to expect more from Partners — a show based on their own partnership, and the show they say they’ve long wanted to do. If only they had done it better. Because while Partners may be many things, ‘funny’ isn’t one of them — or at least not often enough to matter in either of the two episodes made available for preview.”
Salt Lake Tribune: “There are some laughs in the pilot, and the cast is very likable. But Kohan and Mutchnick quickly run out of ideas – Episode 2 is a hot mess.”
Boston Herald: “Successful TV producers — David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, who is gay, decided to create a sitcom based on their real-life bromance. The problem with Partners, as you’ll discover if you watch the first two episodes, is that they already made that show years ago and it was called Will & Grace.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “An episode of Partners CBS made available for review was interspersed with shots labeled ‘stock’ where establishing shots will be placed prior to the show’s premiere tonight. But the ‘stock’ material in Partners isn’t limited to missing B-roll footage on critics’ screeners: This comedy is full of stock jokes, stock characters and even a stock premise. Partners isn’t the worst new sitcom of the season — NBC’s Guys With Kids earned that title hands down — but it is disappointing.”
Boston Globe: “Like The New Normal and Modern Family, Partners wants to help move TV into relatively unconventional groupings of friends and family. But the stubbornly conventional scripts, the overfamiliar characters, and the old-fashioned, machine-gun comic timing undermine any possibility of freshness. There are worse sitcoms on TV, for sure, but the ones with potential sometimes hurt the most. They lure you in, then leave you flat.”
So, what do you think? Do you agree with any of the critics above? Have you watched Partners? What did you think? Will you watch again?