REVIEW: ‘Partners’ (CBS – Wednesday, 8:30 p.m.)

EDITORIAL NOTE: To understand how we do our reviews, please refer to our review of Revolution, here.

PARTNERS is a comedy based on the lives of creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, about two life-long best friends and business partners whose “bromance” is tested when one of them is engaged to be married.  Joe (David Krumholtz) is an accomplished architect who leads with his head and not his heart, especially in his love life.  That’s in stark contrast to his gay co-worker, Louis (Michael Urie), who is spontaneous, emotional and prone to exaggeration.  Both have found joy in their love lives: Joe is newly engaged to Ali (Sophia Bush), a beautiful and sophisticated jewelry designer, while Louis is dating Wyatt (Brandon Routh), a vegan nurse who Louis insists is just a promotion away from becoming a doctor.  As news of Joe’s engagement settles, time will tell if their business and personal bond can adapt to the addition of two other important relationships.  Emmy Award winners David Kohan and Max Mutchnick are executive producers for Warner Bros. Television.  Emmy Award winner James Burrows directed the pilot. – CBS 

Score:     0 out of 100

Initial Impressions (September 6, 2012):

Shawn:  Partners looks absolutely awful on every level conceivable.  Not only is it filled with the most ridiculously stupid gay stereotypes and corny and predictable jokes, it is also a typically awful CBS comedy.

Initial Impressions (September 8, 2012):

Redeye:  I’m sorry to say that Partners doesn’t look very good.  It looks very, very sitcom-y which I guess is standard fare from CBS.   Shawn said that on any other network it would be gone quickly while I say that no other respectable network would have touched it.  I’m embarrassed for everyone involved. It did bring back fond memories of Bosom Buddies, though… which I wish they would bring back.

The Review:

Shawn:  I don’t mind being right, but I really don’t like it when I can’t prepare myself well enough ahead of time for how horrific a show truly is and that’s exactly what happened with Partners.  I was unprepared for how awful it was and just wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible.  I have so little respect for this show that I’m using the parody poster for the review because it’s far more honest.

It is everything we feared it would be and worse.  I’m seriously trying to figure out what the worst part of the show was; the ridiculously clichéd and sitcom setup using the Hollywood Mad-Libs to write the script or the horribly clichéd gay jokes resorting to the cheapest of cheap stereotyping for what the writers obviously think are easy laughs that general viewing audiences will eat right up.

If you’ll recall, we commented on how GLAAD  had kittens over a Mormon-owned NBC affiliate, KSL-TV, in Salt Lake City that decided not to add The New Normal to its fall schedule. Never once did the station cite the portrayal of a gay couple wanting to have a child through a surrogate as the reason for the decision.  No, KSL cited “… crude language and offensive characterizations” as the reason that they felt the show was inappropriate for them (which is an absolutely fair assessment and and the latter is why we panned it).  My question is, why all of the outrage against KSL who never said anything defamatory about homosexuals, yet not a peep about Partners which is nothing more than 22 minutes of of the worst type of gay stereotypes? Seriously… within the first five minutes we get a joke about a gay kid wanting to marry Bette Midler and that awful joke about the Clay Aiken tattoo?

Someone close to me asked me if the gay community could possibly think this is funny. My response is that the only people that could possibly think this is funny are straight people who don’t know any gay people and think that this portrayal must have some truth to it.  Seriously, this show is uncomfortable to watch and I’m just glad I didn’t have to watch it with any of my gay friends or family members. Taking this a step further, though, to really answer that question and my previous question about why GLAAD is silent about this show, the reality is that it doesn’t matter.

Unlike The New Normal, which is just a straight-up agenda-driven propaganda piece, Partners isn’t, but the reason for its existence and the reason why there is silence over the patently offensive nature of the show from LGBT community and in particular advocacy groups like GLAAD has everything to do with an agenda.  The fact is that the content of these shows and the quality of these shows simply do not matter to the special interest groups.  What matters is that a gay-themed show is being produced by a gay producer and is on a major network during prime time.  This is all that matters to special interest groups and this is why American television continues to be on the decline as far as quality is concerned.

And not to single out the LGBT agenda because it seems like everyone has an agenda in American television today.  Tim Goodman, of The Hollywood Reporter who in my opinion has gone from respectable writer to complete hack, wrote an idiotic piece last week about that complete piece-of-crap comedy on FOX, The Mindy Project entitled Race, Weight and Beauty: How ‘The Mindy Project’ Is Both Funny and Important in which he drones on and on about how devoid television is of fat and ugly women of color, wagging his finger at all of us collectively without even mentioning the fact of how bad the show is. In Goodman’s defense, he’s not alone as that’s become the trend with critics regarding The Mindy Project; ignore its many horrible flaws as a series and heap praise upon it because it does such an excellent job of getting more of what you think Hollywood is missing (a trifecta in this case).  So, not only do we have the writers, producers, television studios and special interest groups preaching to us, now we have the critics doing the same thing, either by dismissing the quality of television programming as a necessary requisite for positive critical assessment, or redefining the standards for quality altogether so that they now include how well each different sub-group of the population is represented.

I simply will not subscribe to these new standards.  Either a show is good and deserves praise on the merits of its content or it doesn’t.  Partners, despite the fact that it attempts to portray homosexuals and homosexual interpersonal relationships with heterosexuals positively, does so in such a childish and immature way as to be completely inaccessible.  It fails on every level as a television show and as an attempt to normalize the general public’s perception of homosexuals/homosexuality.  Often I’ve complained that writers don’t understand their subject matter or their audiences and the latter seems very true of Partners which doesn’t even seem as if it’s targeting the LGBT community.  No, Partners target audience seems to be the mainstream American audience… of the late 1990’s… y’know, around the time these characters were on Kohan and Mutchnik’s other comedy, Will and Grace.  Sorry, but that audience is long-gone and somebody really needs to tell them that most of us are a lot more sophisticated now than we used to be.

The characters are awful, all of the jokes misfire and most of them are cringe-worthy, the plots are disjointed and the flow is horrendous, constantly bouncing from scene to scene with an annoying hand clapping noise in between each scene.  Other than when the credits finally roll, there is nothing good about Partners.

Congratulations, Partners, for achieving the status puke-in-your-mouth awful, Full Suckitude© and the Golden Goose Egg Award. ‘Tis a banner day, indeed.

Chance of Renewal:  0%

Currently CBS’ lowest rated comedy, we predict it will be gone before the November sweeps.

Watch Partners, here, if you can stomach it.

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