"It's so nice to see you finally have a chemistry with someone!" -Claire's momWell, if they're gonna make it that easy for me to review the episode...
"There's no chemistry!" -Claire
This review's going to be heavy on comparisons to the original show for two reasons: first because the premise is vaguely similar to one of the best episodes of the original show, second because at this point I feel like my only reason to keep watching is the deep reservoir of affection I have for the old show, and my hope that the new one could eventually be more like it. If you didn't watch and/or don't care about comparisons the original, you want to skip this one.
The old "Cupid" had two things going for it. Most obvious was the white-hot chemistry between Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall, who were so good together -- and so funny together -- that the show could get away on occasion with devoting entire acts to nothing but Trevor and Claire bantering. But almost as important were those moments of magic between the couple of the week, those declarations of love or discoveries that made the show feel like something much more than just a '90s version of "The Love Boat." I'm talking about the linguist dropping his cultured accent to quote Springsteen at his blue-collar lady love, or the dancer and his wife rekindling their passion while sashaying through a natural history museum exhibit, or, of course, Trevor's "perfect match" turning out to be about organ donation and not romance.
So far, I'm not getting either of those things from the new show. Bobby Cannavale and Sarah Paulson are on screen together so rarely, and given so little banter, that I honestly have no idea how much chemistry they might have if the episodes were being structured like the original, where Trevor and Claire always were more prominent than the couple of the week. And when we do see them alone together, like in the episode's final scene, Paulson sometimes plays Claire's dislike of Trevor too strongly. (You could see how much effort it was for her to be polite to Trevor, even after he'd been nice to her.) Any suggestion, as Claire's mom made, that they might be a couple, seems there only because that's what's expected from the show, not because of anything the two stars have shown to date.
Meanwhile, the writing of the couples hasn't been much stronger. We somehow made it more than 15 minutes into "The Great Right Hope" before Lee Tergesen and Constance Zimmer actually got to talk to each other on camera; there was a lot of "tell, don't show" before that, with the kid and Trevor watching them from afar and discussing what was happening between the two. I'd have been fine with that pacing if the early screen time had gone to Trevor and Claire, but instead it felt like someone (my guess is the network) wanted to make sure the audience thoroughly understood the backstory and the conflict before the guest stars shared a real scene, and so we had to waste a lot of time on exposition.
And while there were some nice moments, particularly Tergesen playing the dad's reaction to finding out this boy he liked so much was the son he never knew existed, we never got that magic moment I was hoping for. There was an opportunity to do something cool with the documentary the mom had made, but instead it played like a campaign ad for Tergesen's first bid for Congress.
Given that the ratings make it unlikely this "Cupid" will be around next season, and my nostalgia for the original, I might as well ride the train to the end. But three weeks in, I'm still waiting for a bead to move.
What did everybody else think?