TV Review: Mad Love

Written by Mark Peikert on . Posted in Arts & Film, TV.


Poor Judy Greer. After the failure of her underrated ABC sitcom Miss Guided, she’s now back to a supporting role on CBS’s Mad Love. And as if her return to co-starring status wasn’t insult enough, she’s also looking rough around the edges with an unflattering red hair color and punishing bangs.

The hairstyle simply adds insult to injury; Mad Love is a throwaway sitcom that breaks no new ground and doesn’t have an interesting enough twist to forgive its retreading of old ground. New couple Ben (Jason Biggs) and Kate (Sarah Chalke) are navigating the early days of their relationship, while their clashing best friends Larry (Tyler Labine) and Connie (Greer) bicker behind their lovey-dovey backs.

Creator Matt Tarses has said that Mad Love stems from his love-hate relationship with romantic comedies, but there’s very little criticism of the usual template here. The plot holes are certainly as big as ever; Ben and Larry go to the top of the Empire State Building often enough to learn the name of the elevator operator, but considering the length of the line to ascend to the top, shouldn’t these two lawyers have better things to do? And Larry and Connie, as opposing best friends always do, take an immediate dislike to one another. And just so we’re totally clear on who deserves true love here, Tarses drives the point home by giving Larry and Connie the surnames Munsch and Grabowski, respectively. (Ben and Kate’s blander last names are Parr and Swanson.)

For some reason, the primary relationship is even sketchier than normal—an odd choice, given the luxury of having multiple half hours each week to flesh out the characters and storyline. We never see what attracts Ben and Kate, but because fireworks explode over the NYC skyline when they meet on the Empire State Building, we’re supposed to assume that their love is Meant To Be, just as we’re supposed to assume that the prickly Connie doesn’t have anything better to do with her time than extend her professional nannying duties to Kate.

There is a painful moment during the first episode when Larry convinces Connie to work with him to reunite Kate and Ben, who—oops!—find their relationship temporarily threatened by his current girlfriend. Larry tells Connie that he realized long ago that he would never be the star of the story, and if he wanted to be in the story at all, he’d have to support the hero. Aimed at Greer and her character, the admission is vicariously embarrassing. Greer, an unconventional actress who excels at offbeat comedy, deserves more than shoddy supporting roles. And she definitely deserves better than that hair.

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