'The Paul Reiser Show' Review: My Enthusiasm is Curbed
Thursday, April 14, 2011
In the pilot of The Paul Reiser Show (premiering tonight at 8:30pm on NBC), the former Mad About You star, playing himself, has lunch with Curb Your Enthusiasm's
Larry David. The two are up for the same job hosting a new game show,
but instead David suggests that Reiser should try something different,
maybe his own version of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
I give The Paul Reiser Show major meta points, but that doesn't change the fact that this show is precisely that: Paul Reiser's version of Curb Your Enthusiasm,
the brilliant HBO comedy that follows Seinfeld creator Larry David's
wacky, fictionalized antics. The only problem is that Reiser is a lot
less interesting than David.
Everyone remembers Reiser from his days on Mad About You and, in the '90s, he seemed like the nicest guy on TV. But as much as his new show would try to convince you that he's not actually that nice, everything he does seems to contradict that. On this new show, Paul Reiser seems like a rather ordinary dad and ordinary man, neither too mean nor too nice. And there's nothing interesting about watching an ordinary guy.
Compare that to Curb Your Enthusiasm, where Larry David revels in behaving badly and being portrayed as the kind of guy who would get into a screaming match with a 10-year-old girl at a lemonade stand if he didn't like how her lemonade tasted. The worst thing Paul Reiser does on his show is passive aggressively judge total morons on a game show.
If you're going to try and duplicate Curb Your Enthusiasm's success, it's best not to actually reference the show, since it's nearly impossible to seem good by comparison. Larry David is a fascinatingly complex and unique individual whose outlook on life is so singularly absurd that a show all about how he interacts with people is the height of comedy. Paul Reiser might be nice and a good dad and a funny guy, but he brings nothing original to the table.
Reiser has been MIA from the acting world for more than five years, instead spending his time as a stay-at-home dad, which is admirable. But if this show is the best he can do, I'm rooting for him to have another kid so he can go back to playing Mr. Mom off-screen instead of on.
(Image courtesy of NBC)