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Partners, the new Will and Grace

Timothy Kincaid

October 10th, 2012

Partners, the new CBS comedy on Monday Night, has a familiar feeling. It has the pace, the comedy, and even the same characters as Will and Grace (during their fresh and funny years).

The role of Jack is now Louis and is played my Michael Urie, who you may remember at Marc St. James on Ugly Betty. He has all the same flamboyant, over the top, self obsessed confidence that Sean Hayes brought to Jack mixed with Marc St. James’ quick wit. And underneath he is loving and generous and caring. This is a character that America should find comfortable and unthreatening, they already know him by another name.

Playing Will is David Krumholtz, whose character is Charlie, Louis’ best childhood friend. Except unlike Will, Charlie is straight (and yes, yes, I know so was Will for all practical purposes for the first several seasons).

The story line revolves around Louis and Charlie who are not only best friends but partners in an architect firm. They are joined by Wyatt (Brandon Routh), Louis’ nurse boyfriend who was raised Mennonite and is an anti-stereotype balancing out Louis’ manic antics, and Ali (Sophia Bush), Charlie’s fiancée. Rounding out the cast is RoRo (Tracy Vilar) their slightly inappropriate office secretary/receptionist.

It is no coincidence that the feel is so familiar. It’s a project of David Kohan and Max Mutchnick (Will and Grace creators) and is based on their own mixed-orientation friendship and partnership.

It’s fresh and crisp and a bit more risqué than they could get away with earlier. And last night I found myself laughing out loud in parts. While so far this show hasn’t found its feet (or its ratings) I think that it has real potential – if it is given a chance for word of mouth to spread.

It isn’t likely to change the world in the way that Will and Grace did. But it helps continue a comfort level that viewers have with gay characters and, consequently, with gay people. For eight years Middle America invited their old best gay friend into their home each week (and changed their views in the process). Maybe they will now have a new one.

Comments

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tim
October 10th, 2012 | LINK

In this show – will the gay characters actually have sex?

Désirée
October 11th, 2012 | LINK

Sorry, this show was awful and I have it pegged as one of my early cancellations for the new season. Stereotyped, boring characters who sound like the upper class 50 year old writers rather than the 30 somethings they are supposed to be. A Clay Aiken joke? really? The laugh track alone is enough to make me not want to bother.

I suppose if Two & Half Men is your idea of the height of humor Partners is passable. But for the rest of us with better taste, this show is simply unfunny and unrepresentative, not just of gay people, but of people.

Ryan
October 11th, 2012 | LINK

Funny you mention this now. I was just about to bail on the show until this week’s episode, which was the first one that was actually funny. Hopefully, they can keep that up. We all owe a lot to Will & Grace; it was truly groundbreaking TV at the time. Yes, Will was essentially asexual for most of the series’ run, but it’s all about baby steps. Now Louis has a live-in long term partner. The new show does feel a bit old fashioned, though. Louis speaks like a gay man about 25 years older than he actually is (like Max Muchnik speaks, probably ). But if they continue to build on the quality of last night’s show, they could have a sleeper hit in the making.

Andrew
October 11th, 2012 | LINK

I agree with des – the first couple of episodes were smirky and glib. urie’s are ham-handed and lack deftness… i took it off my tivo list. surprisingly, the new normal has remained – barely. it’s pedantic and preachy, but manages to hit notes i am not expecting.

Priya Lynn
October 11th, 2012 | LINK

Desiree said “I suppose if Two & Half Men is your idea of the height of humor Partners is passable.”.

I haven’t seen either show but Two and a half men is the number one comedy on TV, so if you’re comparing Partners to that its going to be a big hit.

MattNYC
October 11th, 2012 | LINK

We didn’t even make it through the pilot. I am amazed at how bad Routh’s acting is–no wonder the Superman team told him “go” when he demanded more money for the next film. I am disappointed at Urie’s role–it’s so poorly written for someone who really CAN act.

I will try to get through the existing episodes to see if it finds its way.

NB: I was never a fan of W&G either, so maybe that’s part of it.

@Priya

“Two and a half men is the number one comedy on TV”

and that is why our civilization is doomed…

Priya Lynn
October 11th, 2012 | LINK

LOL, Matt!

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