"Perfect Couples," Episode 1, "Pilot" -- TV Review

1/22/2011 Posted by Admin

"Perfect Couples," Episode 1, "Pilot"

Television Review

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

NBC's latest comedy, "Perfect Couples," carries a simple premise: Compare and contrast three couples’ relationship skills. The troubled station is betting the farm on this new, but with the talent they've enlisted to here, they're in good hands.

The pilot for "Perfect Couples" may not be the home run NBC hoped for, but there certainly is potential.

Directed by Seinfeld veteran Andy Ackerman, "Pilot" presents its cliché story in an entertaining enough way. The flashback and cutaway structure may hold Ackerman back at times, but he still creates a cohesive and pretty funny look at married life.

On their anniversary, Dave (Kyle Bornheimer) and Julia (Christine Woods) accidentally make plans with their psychotic friends. Therefore, in an effort to please everyone and save their special day, Dave decides to host a game night, which leads to the destruction of the combustible Vance (David Walton) and Amy (Mary Elizabeth Ellis). Now, instead of enjoying their anniversary, Dave and Julia babysit a broken Vance, who moves into their house.

The main problem with "Perfect Couples" is just how generic it is. This pilot is so jammed with clichés that there's almost no reason to watch. The anniversary, the disastrous game night, the annoying best friend moving in--all of these aspects are so well worn that the cast and crew must do their damnedest to sell it as something new.

For Ackerman, this means cutting up the episode. He delivers a wealth of flashbacks reminiscent of the long-running "Scrubs," and while this doesn't totally jive, Ackerman gets a couple chuckles out of his frequent cuts. However, because the fractured narrative isn't a total success, it's up to the cast to put things back together.

Bornheimer and Woods are both charming and likable as the cool, calm and collected Dave and Julia, while Walton and Ellis make for a great hostile pairing. The final couple is a little harder to pin down. They're the ones who go to therapy and read marriage books, choosing to bottle their problems rather than to express them. As such, with everything so sheltered, we don't learn much about Rex and Leigh. That said, this is the first episode, so I'm sure we'll get something from these two.

"Perfect Couples" is far from the best NBC has to offer. But, then again, it doesn't go for the intellectual heights of "30 Rock" and "Community." It's a serviceable sitcom, which hopefully will improve as the season rolls on.

Grade: C+

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