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Thursday, April 14, 2011

PILOT REVIEW: The Paul Reiser Show


Starring: Paul Reiser, Ben Shenkman, Omid Djalili, Duane Martin, Andrew Daly, Amy Landecker

Created by Paul Reiser
Written by Paul Reiser & Jonathan Shapiro, Directed by Bryan Gordon

The Paul Reiser Show is a quirky new show from NBC that is very much like a Paul Reiser version of Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm. Reiser plays himself - a former tv star with a comfortable life - but he's "not dead yet" so he finds himself wanting to do something more. In the pilot, this includes an attempt as a game show host with contestants who are dumb as rocks, but he finds his real joy in being a father.

Despite the bad reviews, I wanted to like this show - I really did - because I like Reiser and I loved Mad About You. But he would have been better off in a more conventional comedy. This type of show is such a niche show to begin with and it certainly doesn't suit the talents of Reiser who can be quite funny when given the right environment. I kept wishing it was more coherent and wishing it was funnier, but it just wasn't. Reiser is fine but I'd rather just watch him act this way as a guest on a talk show. Plus the friends didn't show much promise with an incredibly lame and contrived subplot.

It had its moments - the scenes with Larry David were alright and Reiser was amusing at times. But it just didn't work, it was messy and not very funny. Traditional comedies aren't the "thing" on NBC but that's exactly where Reiser belongs. He's like a Ray Romano in the sense that he plays off of other people well and that environment plays best with a live audience. He was too understated to be the central figure of an unenthusiastic single-camera sitcom. This has pretty much no chance of succeeding so it would be nice to see Reiser move on to something more suitable soon. This isn't a great comeback for him.

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