Photo Credit : NBC
Multi-camera sitcoms have staged a bit of a comeback recently, despite the overwhelming dominance of hit single-camera shows such as “30 Rock,” “Modern Family,” and “The Office.”
By : SHAWNA BENSON
Multi-camera sitcoms have staged a bit of a comeback recently, despite the overwhelming dominance of hit single-camera shows such as “30 Rock,” “Modern Family,” and “The Office.” For those who don’t know the difference between the two types, multi-camera shows tend to be filmed live in front of a studio audience, or, lacking an audience, a laughtrack, while single-camera shows feel more like TV dramas and films and lack any kind of laughter to indicate when something is supposed to be funny.
“Perfect Couples” is a single-camera show that really needs a laughtrack, in part, because it’s not always obvious when the show is funny. The concept feels solid enough – three heterosexual, white couples deal with their individual relationship issues and their overall challenges as friends . Sounds deep, right? The three lily white couples who suffer the grave relationship problems of not wanting to go on a wine cruise or having to be tricked into going dancing to be lured to the triple couple game night…there is humor to be mined from these situations, and there are even some funny lines but the cast feels uninspired.
Photo Credit : NBC
The spark of life in the show belongs to Mary Elizabeth Ellis, who is best known as The Waitress on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Ellis lights up every scene she is in, and the show feels dull and lifeless when she’s not around. It isn’t that the other performers are all so green – most of these actors have attempted to hit big with other (failed) sitcoms. None of the male actors stand out – Kyle Bornheimer is actually a sitcom veteran, but he keeps playing the same character, and it’s never a standout performance that can’t be missed. There are so many of these types of shows (“Modern Family,” “Rules of Engagement”) and several more to come. Fox has “Traffic Light,” a show about three “longtime friends and their attempts to navigate the demands of their relationships. (per Fox)” CBS already has “Rules of Engagement,” but they’ll also be premiering “Mad Love” about two couples in New York. ABC already has a great relationship show in “Modern Family,” but they too have already added “Better With You,” and come April will try out “Happy Endings,” another show about couples and friends. It’s a lot of competition, and the similar sounding shows have a difficult time differentiating from each other.
“Perfect Couples” hopes you’ll watch for several reasons, but certainly they hope one of them is Maxim favorite Olivia Munn, former co-host of G4’s “Attack of the Show” and a recent contributor to “The Daily Show.” Munn is certainly gorgeous, but she feels all wrong for her character Leigh. Munn’s beauty is buttoned up into Leigh, half of the super yuppie couple of the show. She’d be much better served with less of the overachiever gene and allowed to be funny and sexy. Actually, that rather describes the show; it has dreams of being the hybrid of “Modern Family” and “Friends” but lacking the sophistication and humor of either show. There’s a reason this show is sandwiched between “Community” and “The Office” on Friday night – NBC hopes you’ll just keep watching from one quality show to the other with this one in between. When the strategy works, the show can possibly buy enough time to find its footing, but unfortunately that strategy has failed a very long list of previous NBC sitcoms, and I don’t think it will work for “Perfect Couples” either.
“Perfect Couples” premieres on NBC on January 20th at 8:30 PM ET.