'Paul Reiser' is 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' lite

TV review

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Long before Larry David shows up to tell Paul Reiser he should make his own version of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," it's already clear that's exactly what "The Paul Reiser Show" is intended to be -- just not as funny or uncomfortable as Mr. David's HBO series.

Replacing the terrible "Perfect Couples" at 8:30 p.m. Thursday on WPXI, "The Paul Reiser Show" is another one of those brain-tickling but not hilarious comedies about rich white people. Mr. Reiser plays a version of himself, surrounded by guy friends whose children are friends with Mr. Reiser's kids.

In Thursday's premiere, Mr. Reiser agonizes over his occupation post-"Mad About You" even as he turns down an offer to host a game show. "I don't watch games shows; I'm certainly not going to host one," he says, changing his mind only after he learns Mr. David has been offered the same job.

Eventually "Survivor" executive producer Mark Burnett appears as the producer of this game show, sounding as overly-enthusiastic and insincere as he does when discussing his real programs with the press.

The attempts at humor in "The Paul Reiser Show" mostly stem from misunderstandings or Mr. Reiser's flubs. In a future episode actor/punk rocker Henry Rollins shows up to get angry at Mr. Reiser, who inadvertently hurt Mr. Rollins' chances of landing an acting role.

Although it uses a similar framework as "Curb" -- but scripted rather than outlined and improvised as "Curb" is -- "The Paul Reiser Show" is not nearly as outrageous. It suffers from predictable jokes that are more likely to conjure a hint of a smile, not a belly laugh.


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