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‘Happy Endings’ fine; no enthusiasm for ‘Paul Reiser Show’

‘HAPPY ENDINGS’ ★★★

8:31 to 9:30 tonight, then 9 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays on WLS-Channel 7

‘THE PAUL REISER SHOW’ ★1/2

7:30 to 8 p.m. Thursdays on WMAQ-Channel 5

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



If a new sitcom rips off an old sitcom, does it get bonus points for being shameless?

“Happy Endings,” premiering tonight, wants to be “Friends,” and it doesn’t care who knows it. It even starts with Elisha Cuthbert’s Alex as a runaway bride, a la Rachel Green.

A group of pals hang out around their funky, large apartments, making rat-a-tat pop-culture references. Original, it’s not. But these friends do have chemistry, and some great moments as a hipster Greek chorus.

Casey Wilson (“Saturday Night Live” 2008-09) is a standout as a desperate single wrestling with dilemmas like, “Should I date a guy named Hitler?”

One complaint: Why set a show in Chicago if all you’re going to do is occasionally name-drop Bucktown? At one point a guy says he’ll meet someone “at the gallery on West Superior.” Dude: That does not narrow it down.

On Thursday comes “The Paul Reiser Show,” a carbon copy of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” blatantly so. On the first episode, Larry David guest stars to say, “You should be doing a show like what I have.”

I don’t like “Curb Your Enthusiasm” — unpleasant man — and had a similar reaction to this “Curb 2.0.” It’s hard for me to relate to shows about aging, wealthy white men who don’t know what to do with their days.

In the first episode, Reiser considers taking a game-show hosting gig, which he feels is beneath him. Note to Mr. “Mad About You”: If game shows are good enough for Pat Sajak, sir, they are good enough for you.

The only funny moments came from Omid Djalili, who plays a sub-dollar-store merchant and cat-tracking hobbyist. If the network renames this “The Omid Djalili Show,” it might have a chance.



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