Friday, January 21, 2011

"Perfect Couples" Far From "Perfect" (that was too easy)

As promised yesterday, I checked out the series premiere of NBC's Perfect Couples last night. Let's just get this out of the way. If you use the word "perfect" in the title of your show, or your band, or your movie, or whatever, expect the first critical comment about it to come in the form of, "it's not perfect." That is certainly what I'd say about this particular "perfect show." Despite the reviews I have seen online (which have been almost universally negative), I actually found the show to be a little bit better than I was anticipating.

Due to my status as Olivia Munn fanboy, I assumed that she would end up being pretty much all I liked about the show. Sadly, she is very little of what I like about Perfect Couples. Munn's character, Leigh, is kind of a prissy, controlling know-it-all. Most of her relationship with Rex consists of her telling him what he needs to do to make their relationship perfect. I don't think the role really suits Munn, who is great with a more physical kind of comedy. Her complete denial about Rex's drinking was pretty funny, and that sort of thing could yield some humor in future episodes.
Christine Woods (left) is the best of Perfect Couples
Rex's sister, Julia, is played by the real breakout star of the show, Christine Woods. I already liked her going into this based on her performance in FlashForward, but had no idea how she would do in a sitcom. Turns out, she is well suited for it. She and her significant other, Dave, are the "normal" couple in this group of three couples. She is the cool girlfriend: never bothered by anything, always willing to go along with what her man wants to do, etc. Dave knows this, and generally uses it to his advantage. Things come to a bit of a head between the two on their anniversary when Julia wants to spend a quiet night in with Dave, and he wants to celebrate with their friends. Neither one really wins in the end. If Perfect Couples doesn't make it, I know Christine Woods will.

The final couple is Amy and Vance. Amy, played by It's Always Sunny's Mary Elizabeth Ellis, is easily excited and highly volatile. So is her relationship with Vance. Vance, it seems, is little more than a child in a man's body and is incapable of telling anyone what they don't want to hear. The drama between the two seems to cause the most stress for Julia and Dave, who end up dealing with the after effects of their relationship issues. After breaking up mid-episode, Vance and Amy announced they were getting married at the very end.

There is a lot I could complain about with Perfect Couples. But it was only the pilot, after all. Despite the word "couples" being in the title of the show, the writers really need to develop the individual characters a little bit more. I, personally, need to know a little more about them in order to care at all. What do they do when they are not together, for example? Do they have any other friends? Also, there needs to be some story lines that are not solely about the intricacies of a relationship. There needs to be more to it than the simple, guy wants to be with his friends, girl wants him to stay home with her type of stuff.

I'm not sure Perfect Couples is going to make it. Last night's pilot started weak, but closed strong. For me to continue watching, I need to see Olivia Munn's character expanded and made less one dimensional, and I want more Christine Woods. Lots more. I like her. I'm giving it another chance next week, so we'll see how it goes. That's more than the new Hawaii Five-O got from me.

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