If you ask a TV critic what new fall show is going to be the first to get the axe, there’s about a 50% chance that they’ll say “Partners” is headed for cancellation, due to lower-than-expected ratings and a lukewarm-at-best critical reception.
This bums us out, big time.
The show has all the right pieces in play — a talented cast with phenomenal chemistry, writers with a powerful connection to the material, and a fun, old-school sitcom tone that we’ve seen work time and again. There’s no denying that some of the jokes in the first couple episodes fell a bit flat (“I’ve got a heart on” got old quick) but there’s no discernible reason why “2 Broke Girls” and “Two and a Half Men” succeed in the ratings and this doesn’t.
It’s not uncommon for shows to take a couple of episodes to find their
footing — hey, “The Office” bored us for an entire season before Season
2 came along and made us all fall in love with Jim and Pam.
For “Partners,” though, it didn’t take an entire season — it took two episodes. The series hits the mark with tonight’s Oct. 8 episode, “The Jeter Exception,” in which Joe (David Krumholtz) discovers an old photo of his fiance Ali (Sophia Bush) with Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. Suffice to say, Joe has some… concerns. “That’s Derek Jeter! On a lounge chair! At the Hard Rock, in Vegas, with six inches of clothing and five feet of drinks!”
Naturally, Joe can’t just ask Ali about her, uh, tryst. So Louis (Michael Urie) devises a plan — they’ll play a game of Celebrity, put Jeter’s name in the hat, and see if Ali fesses up. (If you’ve never played Celebrity, you should 1. Get new friends and 2. Brush up on the rules.)
As you can imagine, hijinks ensue. First of all, Wyatt (Brandon Routh) is a former Mennonite who was not allowed to plug in his television, so he’s not particularly pop-culture-savvy. Second of all, Ali has a girl crush on Rachel Maddow. The jokes are sharp and current, the pace is quicker, and Krumholtz in particular is on point. The balance between Louis’s big laughs and Joe as the more grounded, true heart of the show finally makes sense, and we understand their friendship in a new way.
So, we implore you — give “Partners” one more chance. Monday nights at 8:30 p.m. EST on CBS. It’s good times! (And way better than “2 Broke Girls.” And less racist. With fewer vagina jokes. Watch it!)