'Mad Love' joins slate of new couple comedies

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Of the couples comedies to debut so far this midseason -- NBC's "Perfect Couples" in January, Fox's "Traffic Light" last week -- CBS's "Mad Love" (8:30 tonight, KDKA-TV) is probably the best. That's not to say it's a great show, but it is the least groan-inducing.

"Mad Love" also is the most traditional. It's filmed multicamera style, and it has a laugh track. It's set in New York and has a tone reminiscent of "How I Met Your Mother" with Ben (Jason Biggs) as a character who brings to mind Ted (Josh Radnor) from "HIMYM."

The biggest difference: "Mad Love" has a smaller cast, and the narrator is loutish Larry (Tyler Labine, "Reaper"), Ben's best friend.

The story opens when Ben and Kate (Sarah Chalke, "Scrubs") meet cute, and Larry is set up with Kate's best friend, Connie (Judy Greer, "Archer"). Larry and Connie do not get along, which makes for some of the show's sharpest exchanges.

When Larry says he feels like he may have met Connie before, she replies, "You look familiar too, maybe because I used to attend a lot of pedophile conventions."

Granted, we've heard more sophisticated dialogue from other shows, but Ms. Greer's delivery has just the right amount of tart appeal, and Mr. Labine, usually a wholly unlikable lug, actually gets to evince a modicum of charm.

Mr. Biggs, best known for making love to a pastry in "American Pie," has a nice chemistry with the always-appealing Ms. Chalke, although the similarity between his character and Mr. Radnor's role on "HIMYM" -- both idealistic professionals longing for love -- might have some "HIMYM" viewers tuning out from needy guy fatigue.

"Mad Love" won't be the last romantic comedy on the schedule this season. In April, ABC introduces "Happy Endings," which had the funniest pilot of all four shows. We'll see in a few months whether viewers are sick of these look-alike programs or are willing to give iteration No. 4 a chance.

TV writer Rob Owen: rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2582. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook.


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