‘PERFECT COUPLES’ ★★★
7:30 to 8 p.m. Thursdays on WMAQ-Channel 5
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Do you believe in romantic destiny? I loved Kyle Bornheimer on “Worst Week Ever” — he delivers punch lines with an adorable, stumbling uncertainty. They’re like verbal pratfalls, really. And Christine Woods played my favorite character on the late, great “FlashForward.” Now they’re together — married, even — in NBC’s “Perfect Couples,” premiering tonight.
It’s a bit of a departure for Woods. Previously she played a pregnant lesbian FBI agent in a drama; now she’s a neo-Courteney Cox in a zany sitcom. But it works, because she and Bornheimer are the straight men, so to speak.
They try to be a calming influence on their more outrageous friends: Olivia Munn (“The Daily Show”) and Hayes MacArthur (Chicagoan and husband of Ali Larter) are twisted from reading too many self-help books. David Walton (“Burlesque”) and Mary Elizabeth Ellis (wife of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s” Charlie Day) are passionate to the point of spontaneous combustion.
It makes me laugh — particularly the second episode, which explores why the concept of “partying” expires along with your 20s. (Hint: You wake up with beer cans duct-taped to your hands.) I also like the creative way the couples show they care. When one character is gifted with a jewelry box, she gushes, “It’s ivory!”
“I know how much you hate elephants,” coos her hubby.
The edge is good. “Perfect Couples” could ease up on the caricature, though. It doesn’t hurt to have characters that approximate actual human beings.
Watching, I was reminded of another freshman sitcom about relationships. On ABC’s “Better With You,” star Joanna Garcia is as bubbly as a volcano martini, but the show is missing something.
“Perfect Couples” is almost there; “Better With You” is almost there. Maybe if the shows conjoined, the chemistry would be right.