Jonathan Storm: 'Mad Love': Love, no; loathe, no; just dislike

The cute couples are played by (from left) Sarah Chalke, Jason Biggs, Judy Greer, and Tyler Labine. A newish wrinkle is that Greer's and Labine's characters seem to hate each other - but you know how that's likely to end.
The cute couples are played by (from left) Sarah Chalke, Jason Biggs, Judy Greer, and Tyler Labine. A newish wrinkle is that Greer's and Labine's characters seem to hate each other - but you know how that's likely to end.
Posted: February 12, 2011

Connie doesn't like Larry, but she smiles at him anyway.

"You know how when you're doing something excruciating?" she explains. "When you think how it will be over in specific detail, it helps you sort of smile through the pain."

So that's one reason to get a giggle out of CBS's Mad Love, which premieres Monday in one of TV's cushiest slots, at 8:30 p.m. after How I Met Your Mother, and is sure to be over in half an hour before Two and a Half Men comes along.

Oh, it's not that excruciating. And it does (temporarily) replace Rules of Engagment, which is. So that's another reason to smile.

Though not nearly as funny, it has the same feel as HIMYM (say, "him-yim," which is what the cool kids call it), primarily because it's also directed by ex-Philadelphian Pam Fryman and follows cute, youngish people doing the love dance.

One of them, played by Jason Biggs from the American Pie movies, looks to dump his girlfriend. No fireworks, Ben tells his buddy Larry.

Just like the show, whose writers were kind enough to throw up a couple of lobs, so the critics could have fun.

It's not clear why Ben would ditch Rachel Boston from American Dreams (TV show, no pie) and (500) Days of Summer, with her cute nose and smile, and fall helplessly in love with Sarah Chalke, no longer on Scrubs. Maybe Chalke had a deal.

She's her usual blond self, and she and Biggs will have their amusing romantic ups and downs, but we've seen this stuff before.

Her friend, Connie, and his friend, Larry, make the show a little different. They seem to hate each other, maybe a little too much, and have tons of fun with insults.

She's played by Judy Greer, whom you've seen a million times and might remember from Arrested Development. He's played by the likable Tyler Labine, former funny doofus on the CW's Reaper and Fox's Sons of Tucson.

Larry's a little smarter than those characters, but otherwise pretty close.

Everybody knows that, especially among the horny and youngish on TV sitcoms and those airy romantic comedy features, love and hate are thisclose. So what do you think will happen with Connie and Larry?

Our four mouseketeers will navigate the New York dating scene for at least six weeks, since that's how many episodes CBS has ordered.

Maybe they'll be back for more. Maybe they'll be canceled. It's hard to imagine anyone getting mad if that happened or loving the show enough to do much about it. Maybe they should have called it Sort of Annoying Like.

It's easier to imagine viewers feeling slightly cheated after HIMYM at 8 p.m., with its five, not four, regular characters in various stages of romantic attraction, all funnier than anybody in the Mad Love quartet.


Jonathan Storm:

Mad Love

8:30 p.m. Monday on CBS3


Contact television critic Jonathan Storm at 215-854-5618 or jstorm@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/jonathanstorm.

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