Because I need something to do in the half hour in between the end of Community and the beginning of Bones on Thursdays, I’ve found myself watching Perfect Couples. I thought the first couple of episodes of the show were awful—two of the couples, an alcoholic dude-bro married to an insanely controlling wedding planner played by the distasteful Olivia Munn, and two wildly irresponsible and impulsive adolescents in grown-ups clothing, were so unpleasant that I joked on Twitter that the normal couple, played by the inexplicably winning Kyle Bornheimer and Christine Woods were clearly going to end up killing them as a way to make their marriage perfect.
I don’t know that I think the show is getting better. But I found last week’s episode unexpectedly smart and winning. Basically, Rex (played by Hayes MacArthur, who sounds like he should have won World War II, but mostly is a supporting actor in mediocre rom-coms) and Leigh (Munn) have set up a Man Cave so that Rex can bond with his two best friends. They aren’t really feeling reliving their college days in a forced-march kinda way (Leigh has hidden German porn in the couch so it’ll feel naughty). But one by one, the men and their wives make their way to the man cave, whether to hide the result of compulsive shopping, to dodge a new diet, and to find answers. And of course they all discover that they want to blow off steam, but can’t really do it the way they used to any more.
I think that’s actually a smart thing for a show to take on. Growing up’s a weird process, especially when your body starts reacting against you. What does it mean to have a wild night when the consequences are more severe, when the outlets for behaving irresponsibly are limited because, say, you’re married and you want to stay that way. If Perfect Couples can moderate its characters ridiculousness with some real human feeling (and a montage of Rex spending so much time gathering the things he needs to have an illicit dudely night while his wife is gone that he forgets to have fun was actually fairly funny), it might be a viable show.