TV's New Romantic Comedies: How To Tell Them Apart
Perfect Couples, Mad Love
Love is in the air on network TV. From NBC's Perfect Couples to ABC's Happy Endings, each of the big four networks have new romantic comedies to kick off the new year. How to tell the difference between the young love on CBS' Mad Love and Fox's Traffic Light? TVGuide.com has worked up a handy guide to navigate prime time's web of romance. (Just be ready for some TV sitcom déjà vu.)
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Perfect Couples (Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c on NBC)
Premise: Three very different couples try to figure out the definition of the perfect relationship.
You Know Them From: Worst Week's Kyle Bornheimer, FlashForward's Christine Woods, Attack of the Show!'s Olivia Munn and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Mary Elizabeth Ellis star. The series is the brainchild of longtime Friends executive producer Scott Silveri and 30 Rock executive producer Jon Pollack.
Reminds Us Of: It's like Friends — literally! The "perfect couples" include free-spirited hippies (like Phoebe), neurotic perfectionists (like Monica and Ross) and the supposedly normal ones who are actually a little left of center (like Rachel).
Mad Love boss: Judy Greer a better fit than Lizzy Caplan
Mad Love (Mondays at 8:30/7:30 on CBS)
Premise: While Ben tries his best to hold on to the girl of his dreams (Kate), their respective best friends are at each other's throats. (Will their differences turn to sparks with time?)
You Know Them From: It's the TV debut of American Pie's Jason Biggs and Sarah Chalke's first regular series gig since Scrubs. Also, look for serial rom-com best friend Judy Greer and Reaper's Tyler Labine as the would-be couple's warring friends. Mad Love comes from Sports Night and Scrubs alum Matt Tarses and his sister, former NBC programming executive Jamie Tarses.
Reminds Us Of: Is it just us, or is this How I Met Your Mother re-imagined sans mother? Everything from the hopeless romantic lead and the womanizing best friend, right down to the narration style and bar hangout feels, well, like a carbon copy. Not sure if that's a bad thing yet — especially for fans of How I Met Your Mother, which Mad Love will air immediately after on Mondays.
Damon Wayans to guest-star on ABC's Happy Endings
Traffic Light (Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c on Fox)
Premise: In this adaptation of an Israeli sitcom, three thirtysomething college buds try to navigate their various life stages: Mike is married with a kid, Adam just moved in with his girlfriend and Ethan seems destined for perpetual bachelor-dom.
You Know Them From: The Office's David Denman plays the married, while Love Actually's horny Brit Kris Marshall is the ladies man Ethan, natch. The show was adapted by Wedding Crashers screenwriter Bob Fisher.
Reminds Us Of: Expect a Rules of Engagement-style experience. There's the tied-down guy who knows he's whipped but pretends he's not, the semi-tied down guy who genuinely doesn't know he's about to be whipped, and the single guy. Thankfully, when the women aren't around, the focus on the three men's friendship is mostly reminiscent of Entourage's bromance (in the good, early days).
Happy Endings (Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC)
Premise: First comes love, then comes marriage ... unless the bride leaves the groom at the altar. Longtime couple Dave and Alex must deal not only with their surprising split, but also their mutual best friends that get caught in the crosshairs.
You Know Them From: 24's Elisha Cuthbert and FlashForward's Zachary Knighton star as the would-be happy couple. SNL's Casey Wilson and Damon Wayans Jr. also star. The comedy was created by TV newcomer David Caspe, with help from Jamie Tarses.
Reminds Us Of: A romantic comedy without the romance? The girl and guy hate each other? Sounds new! Sounds good! It does also sound a lot like the short-lived Ned and Stacy, but who really remembers 1995? We're in! Sure, there's still plenty of rom-com staples like the chauvinistic guy friend (but this time he's gay!), the perennially single girl friend and the happy, perfectly normal couple that — for some unknown reason — hangs out with the rest of them. Have we mentioned we're in?