In all of the clutter of network television upfronts the last few weeks, one CBS comedy acquisition hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. The show is called Partners, about two best friends— one gay, one not gay. And here’s why it needs more attention—and no, it’s not because it looks good. It looks awful, but I’ll get to that later.
The reason it needs more attention is that it seems to have been done already. On Fox. In 1995. That much you can learn from lazily pointing your browser to IMDB— except the mid-nineties version of the show was created by Jeff Greenstein (who has written on and co-produced Desperate Housewives for years) and Jeff Strauss; and the “new” one was “created” by David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, the team behind Will & Grace.
Not one to jump to cynical conclusions (stealing!? That’s wrong!), I assumed that there had been some negotiations between the Jeffs and the Kohan-Mutchnick machine so that this new show could be made without any legal obstacles. But, alas. It looks like I’m wrong. How do I know? Because Jeff Greenstein is fucking pissed. His Twitter account, for the last few days, has almost entirely been dedicated to calling out the new show’s creators and its executive producer James Burrows (Will & Grace, Friends) for stealing his show— usually in the form of saracastic promotional lines for his Fox show, as if his is the one premiering this Fall. One example: “After 16 years, our show Partners finally gets its second-season pickup. Thanks, CBS.”
And to a fan who asked if the CBS show was a remake of the Fox show, Greenstein responded: “Oh, it’s not a remake. It’s a new show by my former employers which just happens to have everything in common with mine,” referencing the years he worked on Will & Grace under Kohan and Mutchnick.
In addition to his own tweets, a new Twitter feed @Partners_FOX — was set up almost immediately after CBS announced the pickup of Partners. That feed (only 73 followers at the time of this writing) boasts about the Fox show’s stars, Jon Cryer and Tate Donovan (who played straight characters, by the way) and links up to positive reviews of the show from 11 years ago. Cryer has even tweeted a reference to the stolen show: “So excited my new show @Parters_FOX for picked up!! Will tweet about it 11 years from now, when Twitter is invented!!” he wrote on May 17.
At the very least, something fishy is going on. Oh, so let’s get to the new show.
Starring Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) and David Krumholz (Numb3rs, The Playboy Club,) Partners centers around two lifelong friends who work together as architects. So, what can go wrong? Well, Urie’s character, Louis is totally gay and Krumholz’s character, Charlie is totally straight. And, Charlie just asked his main squeeze, Ali (Sophia Bush) to marry him. And by the way, in the Fox version of Partners, the fiance character was named Alicia (aka Ali).
So Louis tries to be supportive, because he’s a good friend. But get this: Louis is really neurotic, because – duh! – all gay dudes are high-strung and really neat and super neurotic. And because of this, their solid friendship becomes strained.
Partners also features what appears to be a sassy Latina neighbor named Ro-ro. In the preview below, she offers ‘the girls’ (THAT MEANS HER TITS, YOU GUYS!), as pillows for Louis when he feels stressed. But the sass doesn’t end there! We also learn that Louis has a tattoo of Clay Aiken on his ass! Sass to 69th power. Ok, I won’t spoil anything else. I will say, however, that since Burrows and the Will & Grace team is behind this — whether it was stolen or not — I’m sure it’ll be a hit. We are all doomed.
Check out the preview below: