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Retro bleak: Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence are 'Partners' in groaners

In 2012, CBS premiered a new show about two odd-couple male pals. It was called Partners, and on the surface, it seemed to have everything going for it—a prime slot following How I Met Your Mother, a great pedigree courtesy of two ’90s sitcom wizards (it was created by Max Mutchnick and David Kohan of Will & Grace fame), two charismatic stars (Michael Urie and David Krumholtz). Even so, Partners failed to gain traction. Critics griped that its old-fashioned jokes were tired rather than appealingly retro; just a few weeks into the 2012-2013 TV season, it became one of the first shows to get the ax.

Clearly, those who don’t pay attention to TV history are doomed to repeat it.

FX’s newest offering, like the CBS series, is a lowest-common-denominator comedy with a laugh track. It was also created by two men whose careers peaked in the ’90s—Robert Horn produced Living Single and the short-lived CBS sitcom High Society; Robert L. Boyett’s last name will be familiar to anyone who grew up watching Miller/Boyett family comedies like Full House, Family Matters, and Step by Step. It, too, stars two veteran actors, albeit ones significantly more seasoned than Urie and Krumholtz: five-time Emmy Award winner Kelsey Grammer and ex-Martin star (and onetime Big Momma) Martin Lawrence. Like that other show, Partners is also called, uh, Partners.

Most importantly: Both are stereotype-laden throwbacks to a simpler time when multi-cam sitcoms ruled and no joke was too broad. And both are, well, not that good. READ FULL STORY

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