Paul Reiser and the NBC Dead Pool


You will be forgiven if you gave the new Paul Reiser Show a miss.

A lot of you were just toddling around when Paul had his last smash hit, Mad About You.

It was the show that made Helen Hunt — and her wife beater tank tops – a star.  

It also gave legs to the careers of a number of other character actors including Hank Azaria as the dog walker.

But that was 11 years ago, and this is today, and it seems viewers are indifferent to the return of Reiser who has basically done nothing since Mad About Helen’s Nipples ended.

According to those who clock these things, The Paul Reiser show had the lowest ratings of any NBC comedy premiere — ever.

Why?

Because instead of developing a sharply scripted comedy, Reiser opted for the Larry David model. He decided to riff on his own life, a sort of art imitates life situation whereby Paul spends 11 years raising kids then tries to get back into the television market.

The difference is Paul really thought people were interested in his real life.

Larry David knew they were not.

The Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm isn’t the real Larry David, who was a happily married man with children (he later divorced his wife Laurie who may or may not have been having an affair with Al Gore). 

The television Larry is a made up version of Larry.

When CYE started, people only knew Larry as the former writer and producer of Seinfeld. They didn’t know the actual man.

He is based on George who is loosely based on him. The Larry on CYE is married to a hot former actress and has no kids, only hilarious buddies like Richard Lewis and Ted Danson. And his manager, who is not his real manager, just another actor.

 That’s why Larry David is funny.

Paul Reiser, on the other hand, is playing himself, a somewhat boring stay-at-home-dad with a bunch of soccer pops as friends.

The result is just not funny.

It just shows that NBC has once again gone to the dead pool for ideas.

The dead pool is indeed a Great Lake from which other networks phish.

Morph over to HBO Canada, and Ken Finkleman’s supremely unfunny show, Good Dog, which is a ripoff of — wait for it — Curb Your Enthusiasm. Ken plays a character which is, basically, supposed to be Ken Finkleman. He has a hot girlfriend who’s in her early 30s while Ken is collecting the Old Age Pension. She has  two buzz kill kids and a dog who doesn’t like him. Oh, yes, a Jewish friend (not Richard Lewis). Also, he has no famous friends like Ted Danson or Jerry, just a guy named Alan who was once in a bad Canadian movie, Carny, in which I was an extra.

That’s the only reason I know the guy.

Good Dog is even worse than The Paul Reiser Show because Ken actually goes to great lengths not to write his own material, and instead, steal it. In a recent episode, Ken goes to buy a pair of pants, takes them home and his girlfriend says she doesn’t like them. So he tries to get his money back, only to be told that he must exchange them. Cue Alan what’s his name, who’s a bad guy and burns down the clothing store. Ken gets his pants for free. And does his famous reaction shot, a kind of Why Me? shrug.

This episode is a direct rip off from the CYE episode in which Larry is buying pants and the fire alarm goes off. So he leaves the store wearing the pants with the security tag still on them. Lots of gags ensue. Larry, I think, eventually gets security ink on his pants trying to take off the tag. Bwah, hah, hah.

Larry makes the gag work because it is well scripted. Ken merely looks like  not just a pants thief, but a comedy bit thief.

He has even stolen the Jewish theme music which Larry might just have stolen from Woody Allen.

Neither The Paul Reiser Show or  Good Dog work because the writers are pretending to be Larry David and Larry David is a fuckin’ genius.

Paul Reiser is not.

Ken Finkleman is a tired old CBC retread whose only claim to fame was writing the sequel to Airplane!

And some show called The Newsroom, which about four people saw.

It’s time to take back television and give it to the writers again.

There is no strike. There is no excuse for lazy megalos to have shows that rip off other shows.

Thankfully, Paul Reiser won’t survive.

But Ken will.

Because this is Canada and all the good writers work in the United States.

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