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Archive for Friday, May 11, 2012

‘Common Law’ follows USA playbook

May 11, 2012

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Take the buddy-cop “bromance” genre, add a few too-cute gimmicks and you have “Common Law” (9 p.m., USA).

Travis (Michael Ealy) and Wes (Warren Kole) may look like models, but they’re really homicide detectives. And they must be really good detectives, because their tough-as-nails boss, Captain Sutton (Jack McGee), decides to send them to couples counseling after they break into a fight that nearly ends in gunfire.

Why couples counseling and not, say, reassignment to other partners? Or other departments? Or other lines of work? Because Sutton is a recent graduate of such therapy, and it’s done wonders for his marriage and love life. And he’s not afraid to talk about it. Yes, it’s that kind of show. Did I mention that the show opens with a quote from Dr. Phil?

The gang at USA has gone to the same well at least once too often. As bickering man-boys, Wes and Travis have nothing on Shawn and Gus from “Psych,” and the therapeutic gimmick is hardly an improvement on USA’s “Necessary Roughness.”

Quirks cannot distract us from the show’s central problem. Wes and Travis share little chemistry and look like they’re going through the motions. Not like an old (un)married couple, but like two good-looking actors saddled with a less-than-believable script.

It also doesn’t help that “Common Law” debuts in the midst of the second season of “Sherlock” on PBS, a truly terrific show about crime fighting’s original “odd couple.”

Tonight’s other highlights

• Jason Sudeikis explores his family’s legacy on “Who Do You Think You Are?” (7 p.m., NBC).

• A lovesick cook (Dudley Moore) makes a pact with the devil (Peter Cook) in the 1967 comedy “Bedazzled” (7 p.m., TCM).

• A trip to Big Sur on “Jennie Garth: A Little Bit Country” (8 p.m., CMT).

• A team from the Brigitte Bardot lectures locals on their wayward ways on “Whale Wars: Viking Shores” (8 p.m., Animal Planet).

• Grisly discoveries point to evidence of the legendary Bigfoot on “Grimm” (8 p.m., NBC).

• Haunted by a soggy spirit on “The Dead Files” (9 p.m., Travel).

• “The Half Hour” (10 p.m., Comedy Central) offers a showcase for stand-up talent. First up: Rory Scovel.

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