To couple or not to couple, that’s the question behind the new CBS sitcom “Rules of Engagement.” The show takes a look at relationships in different phases: There’s a newly engaged couple, a 12-year married couple and their single, womanizing buddy.
The show takes a look at relationships in different phases: There’s a newly engaged couple (Oliver Hudson and Bianca Kajlich), a 12-year married couple (Patrick Warburton and Megyn Price) and their single, womanizing buddy (David Spade, former Scottsdale resident and veteran of “Saturday Night Live” and “Just Shoot Me”).
A clue to the sitcom’s viewpoint appears on-screen in tonight’s debut episode: “When you’re single, you’re exactly as happy as you are. When you’re married, you can only be as happy as the least happy person in the relationship.” (Single folks might have to read that line again, while married ones are silently nodding their heads.)
Produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, “Rules of Engagement” is part of CBS’ midseason Monday night comedy shuffle. “Rules” gets a solid leadin from the network’s comic heavyweight, “Two and a Half Men,” and replaces “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” which goes on hiatus until March 12. But “Rules” will face stiff competition from Fox’s “24” and NBC’s “Heroes.”
Although the show boasts an ensemble cast, the male characters initially dominate the proceedings.
Warburton banks on his dry, slow delivery, developed in other sitcoms (most notably as Puddy in “Seinfeld”), and Spade is his usual sarcastic self. Hudson (son of actress Goldie Hawn and musician Bill Hudson) plays a comic foil as a guy who’s not yet married but is no longer single.
There are funny moments here and there, and the cast is very likable, but the show’s jokes tend to play off stereotypes and become predictable. Unless there’s more variety injected into the writing, viewers may not find this comedy engaging for very long.
The series premiere of “Rules of Engagement” airs 8:30 p.m. today on CBS.