Apr 14, 2011

The Paul Reiser Show Review: Episode 1.01 "The Father's Occupation"


Today would be a prophetic day to cancel The Paul Reiser Show.

The premier episode of TPRS gives us a good idea of what we can expect from the series as a whole: an attempt to remake Curb Your Enthusiasm. To their credit, they aren't hiding this fact... Larry David is actually in this episode and they repeatedly reference CYE... so it's not a stretch to call this a Curb clone. You have a famous, self-deprecating Jewish comedian playing a version of himself having wacky, semi-scripted hijinks with his famous and semi-famous friends. There's one thing that this clone is missing, however.

That thing is humor.

Curb Your Enthusiasm was an envelope-pushing HBO series that touched every R-rated subject you can think of and then some. The characters are over-the-top, which is frequently where the humor comes from. The Paul Reiser Show is an inoffensive NBC sitcom starring Paul Reiser and a cast of people very much like Paul Reiser. This is the reason TPRS won't work... no one wants to watch Paul Reiser be Paul Reiser, unless Helen Hunt and Steven Wright are involved.

Here's an example of what I mean: throughout the show, Paul's group of friends (who's kids go to the same school... exciting!) are helping their children put together dioramas about different states. Meanwhile, Paul auditions to host a game show. All of his friends show up, and while standing around in a parking lot outside of the studio (because this gag wouldn't work inside) one friend continues to work on the diorama (instead of skipping this pointless trip all together). Long story short, someone glues their shorts to the side of his car. The whole punchline to this is... "Did you glue your butt to my car?" An adult, actually said the word butt, not ironically, on prime time network television.

Remember, this show follows Community, who ended tonight's episode with a girl agreeing to dress slutty for a much older man and calling people from Thailand "Chinese Mexicans". I'm sure next week's poopie jokes will have THAT audience riveted!

So, if you enjoyed Curb Your Enthusiasm but wish they didn't use such dirty language, are a kindergarten teacher, and feel like skipping Thursday night bible study, you might enjoy The Paul Reiser Show. You'd also be alone.


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