In a world in which Michael Urie has retired his signature “Ugly Betty” bitchy flare for … a little less bitchy flare, CBS’s “Partners” may seem a star-crossed match for television. Yet somehow the stars have aligned (well, almost) and the result is a frazzled “Friends”-like quartet.

Partners

Pilot
CBS

Buzzing about the office as if in a caffeine haze, Louis (Urie) is Joe’s (David Krumholtz) best friend, co-worker and resident big-mouth. Urie, freed from his Prada suit, glides surprisingly easily into his role as the over-involved side-kick in the men’s bromance. Though unabashedly theatrical, Urie is devoted to the comedic character and exudes a comfort and ease undetected in previous roles.

If only the same could be said for his definitely-not-better half, Wyatt (Brandon Routh). Routh is but a handsome prop on the set, sometimes provided a line about his career as a male nurse. That’s it. Really.

Joe and fiancée Ali (Sophia Bush) are lively, yet about as complementary a couple as a pair of mismatched socks. The two are better suited as foils (er, garments) for Urie, who’s proven himself to be the only “partner” viewers will be itching to claim.

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