TV comebacks can attract one of two responses: they can boomerang or, as was the very intention, be a roaring success.
A perfect example is Michael J Fox (Family Ties) who, after his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, took a sabbatical during the fourth season of Spin City – he was replaced by Charlie Sheen. He later resurfaced in cameos in Boston Legal, The Good Wife and Curb Your Enthusiasm. His courage and determination was applauded. And viewers are happy to see him in a new show based on his life.
Even Rob Lowe was lauded for his impact in The West Wing, Brothers & Sisters and Parks and Recreation. Besides eye-candy, he can be anything from charming, authoritative to outright funny.
While the sway of Fox and Lowe is apparent on many levels, the same can’t be said of Paul Reiser.
His time to shine was in the 1990s comedy, Mad About You, with Helen Hunt. Yes, the story of the newlyweds in that con-nubial state of transition secured it plaudits at the Golden Globe and Emmys, among other award ceremonies, but that time has passed.
And so has Reiser’s (pictured) clout with viewers. Even his work as a producer-writer hasn’t seen him infiltrate Hollywood’s hierarchy. Certainly not with the likes of Chuck Lorre raising the benchmark in the comedy genre (Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory).
But it didn’t deter NBC from foolishly giving him carte blanche (sort of) to prove himself with The Paul Reiser Show, a semi-biopic comedy about a former TV star who enlists the aid of his friends to help him find the next big thing.
Here is the problem I have with it: Reiser is as dull as dishwater. Only Matt LeBlanc could pull off such a tongue-in-cheek reality/fiction role with BBC Entertainment’s Episodes.
If the subject is mind-numbing, doesn’t it stand to reason the show will be, too? No disrespect to Omid Djalili or Duane Martin – but Reiser’s adding of an array of colourful characters doesn’t mean they can salvage a sinking show.
NBC realised their faux pas when the show earned such horrendous ratings they had to can it after two episodes. But we are “fortunate” – we get to wallow in its inanity for a full seven episodes. Thanks M-Net Series – we’ll rush home to tune in. Not!
• The Paul Reiser Show, M-Net Series (DStv channel 114) Tuesday at 7.30pm.