Friday, February 11, 2011

CBS Mid-Season Pilot Review: Mad Love - Premieres February 14; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 14, 2011)

Mad Love

Mad Love - Mondays 8:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Monday, February 14, 2011 at 8:30PM ET/PT

MAD LOVE is a comedy about a quartet of New Yorkers - two who are falling in love and two who despise each other... at least for now. Ben, a lawyer, is a hopeless romantic trying to build a relationship with Kate, a beautiful, smart girl whom Ben thinks is the woman of his dreams. Larry, Ben's unrefined best friend and co-worker, is a guy who doesn't believe in love and has a long track record as the third wheel. Connie, Kate's roommate, works as a nanny and finds Larry aggravating... or does she? Larry and Connie have a lot in common, but refuse to let their guard down long enough to see it.

Cast Details:

* Jason Biggs as Ben Parr
* Sarah Chalke as Kate Swanson
* Tyler Labine as Larry Munsch
* Judy Greer as Connie Grabowski

Jason Biggs (Ben) began his acting career at the age of 5 in national commercials as well as modeling. He won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series for his role on the daytime drama, As the World Turns, and appeared on the shows Drexel's Class and "Total Security." At age 13, Biggs made his Broadway debut opposite Judd Hirsch in the critically acclaimed Broadway play, Conversations with My Father. Other theater credits include the Broadway production of The Graduate, opposite Kathleen Turner; Boy's Life, a coming-of-age comedy by Second Stage Theater in which he starred opposite Rhys Coiro; and Daniel Goldfarb's play, Modern Orthodox, in which he starred Off-Broadway opposite Craig Bierko and Molly Ringwald.
Biggs quickly became one of Hollywood's most talked-about young actors after his breakthough role in the American Pie trilogy. His film credits also include Jersey Girl, written and directed by Kevin Smith, in which he starred alongside Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler; the Woody Allen project Anything Else; the film adaptation of Elizabeth Wurtzel's best-selling biography Prozac Nation, opposite Christina Ricci; the romantic comedy Saving Silverman with Jack Black, Steve Zahn and Amanda Peet; the Amy Heckerling film Loser; the romantic comedy Boys and Girls, opposite Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Claire Forlani; Saul Metztein's black comedy Guy X; the Disney hit Eight Below, an adventure film in which hestarred opposite Paul Walker; Over My Dead Body, a romantic comedy with Paul Rudd and Eva Longoria; and Lionsgate's romantic comedy My Best Friend's Girl, in which he starred opposite Kate Hudson.

For nine seasons, Sarah Chalke (Kate) starred as Dr. Elliot Reid on the Emmy Award-winning series, Scrubs. A native of Ottawa, Canada, Chalke was raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, and began appearing in local musical theater productions when she was 8. A few years later, she became an environmental reporter for the Canadian series, Kid Zone. Her big break came in 1993 when she was cast as daughter Becky Conner on the series Roseanne.
In 2005, Chalke starred in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production of Create Fate, and completed a successful run in the Off-Broadway production of Modern Orthodox, a romantic comedy about love, dating and unlikely friendships, under the direction of James Lapine at New York's Underwood Theater. In 2006, she starred as Lifetime Television executive and breast cancer survivor Geralyn Lucas in Lifetime's Outstanding Made for Television Movie Emmy nominee, Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy. In 2007, she starred opposite Ryan Reynolds and Stuart Townsend in the Warner Independent thriller, Chaos Theory.
Recently, Chalke had a recurring role as Stella Zinmann on the Emmy Award-winning comedy series, How I Met Your Mother, on CBS. Chalke was most recently seen in Maneater, a four-hour Lifetime Original miniseries based on Gigi Levangie Grazer's New York Times #1 best-selling book, The Starter Wife. The successful miniseries was that network's highest-rated program of the year.

A native of Canada, Tyler Labine (Larry) was born in Brampton, Ontario, and moved as a child with his family to Vancouver, British Columbia. He beganhis acting career in local theater and a number of small television roles. After landing one of the lead roles on the series Breaker High and That Was Then, he appeared in film roles opposite Jean Reno in Tony Bill's Flyboys, Nathan Lane in Trixie, Cybill Shepherd in Marine Life and Tim Robbins in Antitrust.
Labine's notable film appearances include his role in My Boss's Daughter with Ashton Kutcher; working opposite David Bowie in Mr. Rice's Secret, and the feature The Zero Sum with Ewen Bremner. Recently, Labine had a starring role in the comedy, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, with Lake Bell and Leslie Bibb. In 2009, Labine starred as Lewis Henderson in Control Alt Delete.
His television credits include series regular roles on Invasion, Reaper and Sons of Tucson, and a guest-starring rol eon Boston Legal. He also portrayed John Belushi in the TV film, Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Mork & Mindy.'

One of the busiest actresses in Hollywood, Judy Greer (Connie) recently wrapped filming the features Jeff Who Lives At Home, opposite Ed Helms and Jason Segel, as well as The Descendants, opposite George Clooney. In addition, Greer will appear in a pair of independent features that premiered at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival. In Malcolm Venville's comedy, Henry's Crime, Greer will be seen opposite Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga and James Caan. She will also be in Barry Blaustein's Peep World, opposite Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman, Kate Mara and Rainn Wilson.
Greer was most recently seen in Magnolia Pictures' Barry Munday, opposite Patrick Wilson, Malcolm McDowell, Chloe Sevigny and Colin Hanks; and Love and Other Drugs, with Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal for director Ed Zwick. Her additional film credits include Fox's Marmaduke; Universal's Love Happens, with Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart; Visioneers, opposite Zach Galifianakis; The Go-Getter, with Zooey Deschanel and Jena Malone; 27 Dresses, opposite Katherine Heigl and James Marsden; The TV Set, with Sigourney Weaver and David Duchovny; American Dreamz, with Hugh Grant and Mandy Moore; The Amateurs, with Jeff Bridges; Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown; M. Night Shyamalan's The Village; 13 Going On 30; writer/director Adam Goldberg's psychological drama, I Love Your Work (debuted at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival); The Hebrew Hammer (debuted at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival); Charlie Kaufman's critically-acclaimed Adaptation; The Wedding Planner; What Women Want; Danny Leiner's The Great New Wonderful (2005 Tribeca Film Festival); What Planet Are You From?; Three Kings; Jawbreaker; In Memory Of My Father; The Specials and Kissing A Fool, among others.
In addition to her role on MAD LOVE, Greer can be heard as the voice of Wendy on Nickelodeon's animated series, Glenn Martin, DDS, as well as the voice of Cheryl on the animated series, Archer. Her previous television appearances have included Miss Guided, Modern Family, House, M.D, ER, My Name Is Earl, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Californication, Arrested Development, and CBS, Love Monkey, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and Two and A Half Men.


Pilot Plot:

#1 "Fireworks" (Airs February 14, 2011)
When Ben Parr and Kate Swanson accidentally meet at the top of the Empire State Building, they make a date for later that evening and each bring along their best friends, Larry and Connie, who instantly despise each other.
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Written by Matt Tarses
Recurring Cast: Sarah Wright as Tiffany
Guest Cast: Rachel Boston as Erin, Miguel Nunez as Carter, Laura Spencer as Alexa, Jerrika Hinton as Eva

Analysis:

Mad Love is a multi-camera ensemble comedy from Sony Pictures Television and CBS Television Studios. CBS has ordered a total of 13 episodes. The show has undergone many casting changes since the pilot was first green-lit in early 2010. Minka Kelly, Ashley Austin Morris, Dan Fogler, Lizzy Caplan and Hal Williams were cast in the early stages. Tyler Labine came on board in April, replacing Fogler. Sarah Chalke joined the cast in June, replacing Kelly. Judy Greer was the last to join the cast as Connie. Hal Williams was originally supposed to be in the pilot as the elevator operator and provide the narration, but that is provided by Tyler Labine's Larry character.

In the pilot episode, "Fireworks," Larry Munsch narrates the opening sequence and asks do you believe in fairy tales. He says me neither, but says this one will be a little different because he's telling it. Ben tells Larry that he's ending it with his girlfriend Erin because there's no fireworks. Kate loses her hat in the bathroom at the top of the Empire State Building. Carter is the elevator operator. Fate happens and Kate finds Ben's red cell phone on the ledge. Ben finds Kate's hat and they exchange the items. At his office, Ben tells Larry that there were fireworks between him and Kate. Ben tries to break up with Erin. Larry meets Connie, who is a friend of Kate, at the bar. Ben invites Kate up to his apartment for a beer, while Larry is left alone with Connie. Kate and Connie leave upset and in a hurry after Erin arrives. Connie is the nanny for Tiffany's children. Ben and Erin officially break up. Kate and company go to the bar where they see Ben kissing another girl. Two weeks later, Larry meets up again with Connie at the gym. They devise a plan to get Ben and Connie back together again at the building.

The show is airing after How I Met Your Mother and while it's not a complete clone, there are quite a few similarities and connections. Both shows are set in New York City with a group of friends. There are also several scenes at a bar. Tyler Labine's character provides the narration in the opening and closing minutes. Jason Biggs' character seems similar to Ted Mosby. Pamela Fryman, who has directed the majority of the How I Met Your Mother episodes, also directs the pilot. Sarah Chalke had a recurring role on HIMYM a few seasons ago and Judy Greer has also guest starred in a single episode. Since How I Met Your Mother has become such a solid hit, you can't blame them for trying some of the same storytelling devices and tricks which have proven to work. Mad Love has an experienced and talented cast. I think that it's unique enough that it will be a nice addition to the CBS' Monday night lineup. If it becomes a solid hit, I wouldn't be surprised to see a cross-over episode maybe next season.

Conclusion:

Mad Love joins an already hilarious lineup of comedies on CBS. This is a show which could have easily been on the fall schedule. It's pretty nice when you have such a strong show to come out of the bullpen at mid-season. The strength of the show is the talent and comedy experience of the cast. This is one of the few new shows where I think every cast member is going to be familiar to many viewers. Jason Biggs is recognizable from the American Pie trilogy and many other film and TV roles. It's nice to see Sarah Chalke on a sitcom again as a lead after Scrubs ended. Judy Greer always brings the funny with some wacky characters. Tyler Labine is probably the least known cast member to audiences after appearing on some short-lived shows like the underrated Invasion, but this could be his breakout role. He's very funny in the pilot as the unrefined Larry.

There aren't tons of laugh-out-loud moments in the pilot, but it sets things up well. Pilots are not usually the strongest. They lay the groundwork and provide the necessary background and introductions for the characters. These are characters who viewers will like. If you are a fan of How I Met Your Mother, you will probably want to check out Mad Love right after it. There are some similarities, but Mad Love has its own uniqueness and charm to it. This is one of the better dating/couples sitcoms of the season. The potential is there for it to stick and become a dependable hit. It was originally scheduled to premiere a week later, but it made sense for promotional and marketing reasons for them to move it up a week to Valentine's Day. Who will fall in love? Watch the fireworks and tune in on Monday nights at 8:30/7:30c on CBS to find out!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Todd on 02/11/11

Discuss the show after you watch it on Monday, February 14 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Mad Love Photo Gallery

    Preview:




    It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars (but we won't cover movie stars like Tom Hanks or John Travolta, since they won't be talking about their past sitcoms likely), so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
    For the week of Feb. 14-18, 2010, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!

    Monday, February 14, 2011
    • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/Knights of Prosperity/Hot Properties) - Watch the Latin goddess on Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Martin Lawrence (Martin) - Catch the funnyman on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC at 12am.
    • Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) - Watch Melissa on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS at 12:37am.
    • Jason Ritter (The Class) - Watch Jason on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:37am on NBC.
    • Cast of Roseanne - Roseanne Barr, John Goodman and the rest of the Roseanne TV family reminisce about the popular series on The Oprah Show, check local listings
    Tuesday, February 15, 2011
    • Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - See Eric on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am.
    • William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says) - Catch The Shat on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Martin Lawrence (Martin) - Watch Martin on The Mo'nique Show on BET at 11pm.
    Wednesday, February 16, 2011
    • Michael Rappaport (The War at Home) - Watch Michael on NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:37am.
    • Martin Lawrence (Martin) - Martin visits Conan on TBS at 11pm.
    • Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) - Watch Sarah be a guest CO-HOST on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Wendie Malick (Hot in Cleveland/Just Shoot Me/Big Day) - Watch Wendy on The Talk at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT on CBS.
    Thursday, February 17, 2011
    • Jenna Fischer (The Office) - Watch Jenna on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Sarah Chalke (Mad Love/Scrubs) - Watch the beautiful star on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
    Friday, February 18, 2011
    • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/Just Shoot Me/8 Simple Rules) - Catch David on the Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35am on CBS.
    • Set Visit for Modern Family - ABC's Good Morning America will be on the set live sometime between 7-9am.
    • Ed Helms (The Office) - Ed appears on The Rachel Ray Show, so check your listings for time and station.
    Leave us comments on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us to let us know what you think of this Friday feature! We do listen!


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    Schooled - "Beanie Babies" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
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    Modern Family - "The Last Christmas" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
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    Single Parents - "Good Holidays to You" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
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    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 9)

    Wednesday, December 11

    • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Watch Kevin on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Keri Russell (Running Wilde) - Keri stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Nick Jonas (Jonas) - Nick visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation/The Office) - Rashida is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony guest hosts The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Giancarlo Esposito (Bakersfield P.D.) - Giancarlo drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Guys with Kids/Entourage) - Jamie-Lynn is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Wilmer Valderrama (That '70s Show) - Wilmer talks about his role on NCIS on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Robin Givens (Head of the Class) - Robin talks about OWN's Ambitions on Access Live, so check your local listings.
    • Andrea Barber (Fuller House/Full House) - Andrea reveals her struggles with anxiety and depression while playing D.J. Tanner’s best friend, Kimmy, on Full House on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
    • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Patti shares her comfort food secrets and how to entertain without breaking a sweat on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.


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