TV Recap: Partners (FX), Series Premiere

Written by David Oliver

PARTNERS - Key Art

“Do truth and facts really have a place in a court of law? No.”

And with that line of ridiculousness comes FX’s latest comedy attempt, Partners.

It stars Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) and Martin Lawrence (Martin) as Allen Braddock and Marcus Jackson, respectively. It’s a classic I-don’t-like-you-but-we-have-to-work-together type of situation as Marcus needs Allen’s help with his divorce after the two randomly meet in a courthouse bathroom. Allen just got fired from his father’s law firm and was looking for work. How convenient.

Honestly, anything without Charlie Sheen in it already has a leg up on TV these days, even if it’s his “hit” comedy’s lead-in.

Photo Credit: Johan Salvador/FX
Photo Credit: Johan Salvador/FX

What’s most confusing here though is the title – CBS just two years ago had a series of the same name, and there was some controversy with that title in regards to a prior series. So what gives, FX? What kind of deal did you score to get the rights? Or has everyone just forgotten about this except for this reviewer?

The show relies much too heavily on quick one-liners and not enough on the plot at hand. How many ways can Allen say he averts legal ethics? And Marcus literally keeps repeating the phrase “I still don’t like you” to Allen. Marcus is a smooth talker with the judge, and Allen repels her. More opposites-attract plot convenience.

Each character speaks the same with the same quick comebacks, which is both unrealistic and jarring to the audience.

The pilot does, however, lay plenty of groundwork for its supporting cast, from Allen and Marcus’s daughters to Marcus’s mother, assistant and paralegal.

What’s also confusing is how effortlessly involved these characters are in each other’s personal lives right from the get go. Marcus openly discusses his divorce proceedings with his mother, daughter, new “friend/lawyer” Allen and his paralegal altogether in the same room. Inappropriate, no? Not to mention the fact his daughter vows abstinence and it’s later revealed (spoiler alert) Marcus’s wife was cheating on him with a priest. I guess that explains why Marcus appear to have custody.

Photo Credit: Johan Salvador/FX
Photo Credit: Johan Salvador/FX

What’s also annoying about this show is its blatant rip-off from Suits. Two lawyers working together in an unethical situation with one of them having a sassy, too-smart-for-her-job assistant? Again, how convenient can this show get?

This will definitely fit well with Anger Management, but time will tell if FX’s comedy plunge will be worth the trip, especially considering it’s airing back-to-back episodes of this show for five weeks straight before (potentially) ordering it to series, similar to Anger Management. I don’t know whether to be more worried for FX’s ratings or these poor actors stuck on this show.

Memorable Lines:

“Where’d you get your parenting skills anyway?” – Lizzie, Allen’s stepdaughter

“From the back of a Xanax bottle, where it says keep away from children.” – Allen

“I am well-versed in legal ethics. How do you think I’ve avoided them for so long?” – Allen

“10 years ago I was right where you are.” – Allen

“Being stalked by a white guy in a bathroom?” – Marcus

“I will teach you to tell the truth 10 different ways.” – Allen

Partners airs every Monday night on FX.

Recommended Reading:

Review: Anger Management (Daniel Cohen)

Review: Married (Megan LaBruna)

Review: You’re the Worst (Marla Pachter)