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Still Talkin TV » Not Mad About Reiser’s New Show

Not Mad About Reiser’s New Show

Paul Reiser in Philadelphia

Image via Wikipedia

 

Regular readers of this blog and my former TV column at the Buffalo News know that I often start some columns of notes after using the phrase “This is What I’m Thinking.”

But they may have forgotten the origin.

It came from a phrase that Paul Reiser (see above) often said when he co-starred opposite Helen Hunt in the hit NBC sitcom “Mad About You.”

In other words, I’ve been a big fan of Reiser (but a bigger one of Hunt), who is back at 8:30 tonight on a new NBC comedy, “The Paul Reiser Show.”

He plays himself. And this is what I’m thinking after watching four episodes:

It was a little sad watching the self-deprecating Reiser.

Not because he is older, which he is.

Not because he is chubbier, which he is.

Because his show isn’t terribly original.

It’s a direct steal of one of my favorite HBO series, Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” with a little tweaking.

It isn’t as if Reiser is trying to hide that he stole the idea. David appears in tonight’s premiere, which focuses on the competition between them to host a game show. And the episode is directed by Bryan Gordon, who directs “Curb.”

The “tweak” concerns the difference in Reiser and David’s personalities. David plays a character true to his real-life self – an annoying, self-centered grouch and jerk.

Reiser has a reputation for being a good guy, which isn’t exactly funny. So we’re asked to believe he can occasionally be as big a jerk as David but at least he feels badly about it.

As David is in “Curb,” Reiser is surrounded by an eclectic group of friends that he met through his kids’ schools or from the neighborhood he lives in. Think Ray Romano’s “Men of a Certain Age” and add a more comedic tone. Or at least an attempt at a more comedic tone.

Jonathan (Ben Shenkman) is an anal lawyer with a son who is afraid of his shadow. Fernando (Duane Martin) owns a restaurant and is named after a song in a Broadway hit. Habib (Omid Djalili) owns a warehouse business that specializes in selling overstocked novelty items to discount stores; Brad (Andrew Daly) is a rich, dull guy.

Amy Landecker also is aboard as Paul’s wife.

Reiser starts each episode talking to the camera, explaining who he was and who he is. That is a good idea since the audience that advertisers seek probably wouldn’t know him from Larry David or Jerry Seinfeld (who started “Seinfeld” talking to the audience through his stand-up routine).

Then Paul and his friends are thrown into situations that are supposed to lead to laughs.

Next week, Paul picks up the wrong kid for a play date, which frightens the kid left behind. Meanwhile, Paul is frightened by an actor and parent who thinks Paul did him wrong.

The April 28 episode, “The Generator,” finds Reiser unknowingly becoming the spokesman for a tool company. Meanwhile, one friend almost dies in an accident and another practically dies going on a diet.

The May 5 episode is the best of the four. Called “The Batting Cage,” Paul behaves like a jerk – or Larry David – while also taking a swing at selling school wrapping paper.

The four episodes are played out of order so characters are introduced after we’ve already met them. It’s a little maddening.

The episodes have several things in common with Reiser: They are low-key, unoriginal, a little old school, bloated but pleasant.

To use one of David’s least favorite expressions, “having said that,” I’m thinking very few people will be mad about Reiser’s new show either positively or negatively.

Rating: 2 and a half stars out of 4

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2 Responses to “Not Mad About Reiser’s New Show”

  1. Rocketboy says:

    Did anyone catch Reiser on Sirus/XM 202? He’s a total boor. I don’t know how someone who claims to be a comic can be so not funny, and have no idea how to read a room.

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