THE SHOW "Partners"
WHEN | WHERE 9 p.m. Monday on FX
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Allen Braddock (Kelsey Grammer) is an ethically challenged lawyer who was fired by his own father's firm. He needs to get back in the game and needs a new partner -- that's where Marcus Jackson (Martin Lawrence) comes in: He's getting a divorce and Braddock offers to work on the settlement. A strained partnership is born, while the twist is that Marcus is honest. This is produced by Robert Boyett, the other half of the Miller-Boyett team behind some of TV's -- most notably ABC's -- most successful sitcoms of the '80s.
MY SAY A cynical, feckless money-grab by veteran talents who should know better, it's hard to imagine why "Partners" got made in the first place, except to fill airtime. But get past the genuine awfulness of this -- and it is awful -- and a strange melancholy begins to settle in. That's Kelsey Grammer, after all, in a lead role -- one of the most esteemed comedy actors in TV history. Whether or not you liked Boyett's comedies -- and chances are you did -- they were some of the most successful in TV history, too: "Family Matters," "Full House," the later years of "Happy Days," to name just a few. "Partners," by contrast, feels like some crusty vaudeville relic that was propped up, given a couple shots of cheap booze, then pushed onto a stage and told to perform. Failure is a given -- or in this case earned, because it not only manages to insult Catholics in the first episode, but gays in the second. That kind of equal opportunity denigration is rare, even by prime time standards.
BOTTOM LINE Repugnant. Skip it.