Partners, Season 1: Episode 3
The Jeter Exception
The third episode of Partners opens with Louis sorting Joe's clothes into two piles: donate and burn. This joke has been made in so many shows and movies and I hate myself for not being able to think of even one example. This is not the only point in the episode where I hate myself, but more on that later.

Louis is sorting Joe's clothes because the two men are moving Ali into Joe's apartment. Louis calls the process "pruning" and Joe retorts, "Why do you have to call it pruning"¦Why does everything have to be a gay event." Louis responds, "Whenever anything comes out of the closet it is a gay event." First of all, if we're going to get all offensively stereotypical, pruning is an old lady word, not a gay man one. Second, are you kidding me Partners"¦the whole cliché clothes sorting scene was just a set up for a lame coming out joke. But I did laugh. So, Partners has made me hate myself twice before the theme song.

Offensively unfunny-but still funny to me-opening scene aside, the episode showed some real improvement over the past two. Yes, it cannot escape clichés but the old set-ups led to some new laughs and there was nary an appearance of the sassy Latina secretary, THANK GOD.

After some cajoling from Louis, Joe opens a box of Ali's personal belongings and finds a picture of Ali at the Vegas Hard Rock with Derek Jeter. Joe obviously tells Louis, who makes some hilarious puns about Jeter, baseball and sex with Joe's fiancé. The show has already established that it can do a good episode long gag, so when Joe tells Louis he only gets one more Jeter joke and Louis says he is going to save it, I was actually excited. The show has also already established that it can break my heart, and it did just that about three minutes later when Louis squanders his last joke. But wait, Joe calls him on the lame attempt and Louis retorts, "It would have done better if it was A Rod." Tee hee, ball jokes, penis jokes, I love them all but would love to see female genitals getting equal press time.

Anyway, Louis and Joe decide to play Celebrity (great game, learn it, play it with all your friends) to get Ali to admit she slept with Jeter. Derek Jeter's name will be in the bowl and Ali will be forced to describe him as the baseball player she slept with. This is not a brilliant plan and it backfires when Wyatt gets Jeter and describes him as the guy Ali slept with, cluing Ali in to the fact that Joe snooped and then blabbed to Louis.

The Wyatt and Louis sub plot centers around Louis' incredibly competitive side. Wyatt committed the Jeter faux-pas because he was so nervous that Louis would break up with him if he was bad at Celebrity. It is revealed that Louis broke up with a guy named Steven because he did a horrible Rocky Balboa impression during a game of charades-it was truly horrible, I would know, I loooove Rocky. Louis once again proves to be more than the shallow gay BFF when he assuages Wyatt's fears by telling him that he didn't love Steven but he loves him. It is sweet, as are Louis' subsequent attempts to be less competitive for Wyatt. He does not succeed. In the midst of the conflict between Louis and Wyatt, Wyatt (who is clueless about pop culture because he was raised as a Mennonite) calmly expresses his concerns to Louis and apologizes for yelling (so cute and well done, but it was one of those you had to be there moments"¦SO START WATCHING THE SHOW). I digress.

Joe and Ali fight about the snooping and the sleeping around. Joe attempts to make Ali jealous by confessing he slept with a celebrity too. But this "celebrity" turns out to be a large local weather girl from upstate New York. Ali confesses to Joe that she spent three weekends with Jeter and also slept with Justin Timberlake. This last part turns out to be untrue and just a test to see if Joe will tell Louis.

Joe does indeed tell Louis and Ali finds out by orchestrating a Celebrity game of her own. Ali's plan works perfectly, and her last clue to Louis in order for them to win the game is, "the second celebrity I slept with." Louis insists he doesn't know and that Joe told him nothing, until the last second when he is forced to say Timberlake because he cannot stand to lose.

In the end, Ali forgives Joe. The plot wrapped up a little bit quick, but it felt pretty believable to me. I imagine that if I were Ali, I would weigh the few cons of a fiancé with a gay best friend (gossip) against the many pros that we have already seen (yoga buddy, truth teller, personal mover) and come back much calmer. Ali does come back to her apartment calmer and tells Joe that it is OK if he confides in Louis. Joe says he won't anymore and Ali says she doesn't believe him. Once again, Ali is right because Louis and Wyatt are eavesdropping outside. Ali is awesome.

After three episodes, I am ready to say that I really enjoy Partners. I haven't ever written criticism before, but I have bitched about A LOT of shows and I don't think Partners deserves to be singled out as backwards. Calling this show "Will and Grace with a gender reassignment," as Salon.com has, and dismissing it as offensive and unoriginal is premature. Showing a best friendship between a straight man and a gay man is relatively new ground for TV and I think Partners is trying its best to explore the humor in the shows three major relationships (although I hope we get a little bit more of Ali and Wyatt as the final line in the platonic/romantic love square).

Grade: B+

Thought Vomit:

-I did not realize how much Sophia Bush had influenced my daily life until I began watching Partners very carefully. We have the same hand motions. Although, that could be because I am influencing her life. It's probably that.

-"Put your thinkin' boobs on"

-Disclaimer: All quotes from the show are approximate because I am lazy and take bad notes, except "put your thinkin' boobs on" because that is pure gold and I will remember it beyond my dying day. Also, sorry for all the run-on sentences.
Tags: Partners
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