TV Review: Mad Love (CBS)


This half-hour mid-season comedy series could not have premiered on a better day. Valentine ‘s Day is the day of love’s celebration. CBS, with all its faults lately, could not have given Mad Love a better chance with the timing of the first episode.

The casting was not an immediate blockbuster, but with great choices and smart decision making this ensemble is a hit. Mina Kelly, Ashley Austin Morris, Dan Fogler and Sarah Wright were several actors who signed on but soon were replaced. Each actor had their own reason for departing, but it led to a phenomenal cast.

Jason Biggs (Henry Parr) is best known for his role as Jim Levenstein in the American Pie trilogy. His straight man character roles have won him a huge following. When he appears as himself in interviews, he has a strong sense of the powerful funny man. He has a truly natural sense of humor that is not forced. The character he is portraying on Mad Love is very reserved and puts much thought into every action he takes. I am certain that rehearsals are filled with laughter and pranks when Biggs is working across from Tyler Labine (Larry Munsch.)

Labine has a long list of television credits that began with a role on a short-lived series called Invasion. Had tweeting been a factor in 2005, Labine would have had a massive following. The hits that the ABC network received with Labine’s character Dave Groves giving background information on the possibility of the alien invasion would have sent Twitter into a revolt. It is likely that Labine was not the protagonist of the information but allowed the writers to expand on the storyline.

Reaper was Labine’s next acting adventure, playing Bert “Sock” Wysocki, a friend to Sam (Brett Harrison ), the main character who has to do the bidding for the devil. This character could not have been a better fit for Labine who seemed to thrive on screen. “Sock” struggled with keeping his friend Sam safe, as well as tripping them up in every dangerous turn.

Next up for Labine was a starring role in Sons of Tucson as Ron Snuffkin; a thirty-something sporting goods employee who is befriended by the Gunderson brothers. They bribe Snuffkin to be a substitute father figure who can keep the authorities at bay. Although Fox ordered 13 episodes only four aired at the specific time slot. The remaining nine episodes were peppered in less than prime time slots.

Tyler Labine’s character is a perfect fit for this very talented actor. He initially turned down the role of Larry, but thankfully for the audience he later accepted the role. His comedic timing allows the writers freedom to put on paper what only Labine can interpret.

Sarah Chalke (Kate Swanson) got her big break taking over the role of Becky on Roseanne when Lecy Goranson decided to pursue her education at Vassar College in 1993. Chalk continued on and off through the final season and was seen on the small screen for another four years.

Sarah soon took on the ever popular role of Elliot Reid whose relationship with John Michael “J.D.” Dorian lasted through nine seasons. In 2008, she became the love interest of Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor ) on How I Met Your Mother. Stella Zinman would eventually part ways with Ted after they attempted to make the relationship work over a long period of time. Could she be the future mother of Ted’s children? The answer will lie in the final season but until then we are left guessing if it is a character already introduced or if the writers create a new character that will be the love of Ted’s life.

Chalk as Kate Swanson will be the perfect balance to Jason Biggs’ character Henry. The two have instant on-screen chemistry that is difficult on television due to the networks not allowing for a slow build between love interests. Their future is sketchy but after viewing the first episode the writers will have an abundance of story lines.