Dave and Julia try to salvage their anniversary plans when their friends meddle in their lives.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell


Episode Title: "Pilot"

Writers: Jon Pollack & Scott Silveri

Director: Andy Ackerman

The Thursday night comedy lineup on NBC is one of the strongest on TV and nothing would make me happier than to report that "Perfect Couples" is the next great sitcom on the network.

But it’s not. It’s really, really not.

The basic premise is that a normal couple Dave (Kyle Bornheimer) and Julia (Christine Woods) are pressed to maintain their own relationship while keeping their ties with the self-proclaimed "perfect couple" Rex (Hayes MacArthur) and Leigh (Olivia Munn) and the less perfect couple of Vance (David Walton) and Amy (Mary Elizabeth Ellis).

Like many G4 fans, one of the main reasons that I checked out this show was to see Olivia Munn in her first major acting role since she left "Attack of The Show." And while she’s shown a comedic flare in the past, almost none of that comes through in her performance here. Munn does seem to have a supernatural ability to smile constantly (a trait she shares with co-star Hayes MacArthur), but she seems less genuine here than she ever has in anything else before.

The entire cast seems to be trying way too hard. But there’s so little to work with in the script itself, that I don’t buy any of them as couples or friends. They’re not even convincing as human beings.

At the beginning of the show, there’s a sequence in which all of the guys deal with their female partners hogging the bed. It’s almost amazing that none of their solutions draw any laughs at all. The bulk of the story deals with Dave and Julia trying to keep their anniversary celebration to themselves without getting drawn into a corporate cruise by Julia’s brother Rex and his wife, Leigh. At the same time, Vance breaks up with Amy and in classic sitcom fashion, ends up moving in with Dave and Julia just in time to ruin their anniversary plans… again.

There were a couple of amusing moments between Dave and Vance at their day jobs together, which led to the one truly funny joke of the night: Vance’s "Dave Betrayed Me" playlist. But the majority of the episode felt like a sitcom mishmash, right down the scene in which the two other couples literally invade Dave and Julia’s bedroom. There’s no sense of reality in any of this. Even the solution of Vance and Amy getting back together, getting engaged and jetting off to Paris seems false. Well, that last part especially. I can almost see a self-destructive couple going all in, but who the f*** can afford to go to Paris on the drop of a dime? Does money exist in their world?

Almost every sitcom on NBC right know features characters that have over-the-top traits, but the reason that "Community," "30 Rock" and the rest work so well is that their characters still manage to resonate with the audience. The only thing I’ve taken from "Perfect Couples" is that I don’t want to know anything else about the characters or waste any more of my Thursday nights watching them.

But in the interest of fairness, I will give "Perfect Couples" one more shot to win me over. I’d love to see the series make some kind of dramatic turnaround and live up to its companion shows.

So far, it hasn’t.

Crave Online Rating: 3 out of 10.