Newly divorced Stuart (David Alan Basche) is moving in across the hall from his divorce lawyer and now landlord Holly (Kristen Johnston). His new roommates Phil (Donald Faison) and Haskell (Wayne Knight) are also divorcees and Holly’s clients, but that is where their similarities end. Phil is a sports agent with a string of one-night stands. Haskell is a schemer with a million plans to get rich quick. Stuart is a neat freak with a love for cooking and sensible khakis. It is the perfect set-up for an old-fashioned sitcom.
For years, TV Land sucked in audiences with reruns of their favorite classic sitcoms, but since the success of Hot in Cleveland, the network has branched out into more original programming. The Exes has many familiar character types and a traditional sitcom structure, complete with laugh track. The dynamic between Phil, Haskell, and Stuart is similar to The Odd Couple, and most of the conflicts have been done before. Phil is trying to ditch a clingy one-night stand. Haskell lied about his appearance to his internet girlfriend. Stuart is acting like a housewife, nagging Phil about when he is coming home from work and fussing over house work.
With so many formulaic elements, why would audiences check out The Exes when there are so many other sitcoms to watch? The answer is the cast and their chemistry. Some of these actors like Wayne Knight and Kristen Johnston have done their best work on sitcoms, and they have great comedic instincts in that particular format. The Exes is predictable, but it is also funny and broadly appealing. If TV Land is bringing back the old-fashioned sitcom, this is the way to do it.
One last note, the show’s theme song changes from season 1 to season 2. The new theme song is really terrible, like unbearably cheesy. I don’t know why the theme song was changed, but I would strongly recommend that the show creators go back to the original theme song.
Special features include interviews with the cast and crew about the making of The Exes.
"The Exes: Seasons 1 & 2" is on sale November 4, 2014 and is not rated. Comedy. Directed by Andy Cadiff. Written by Mark Reisman. Starring David Alan Basche, Donald Faison, Kristen Johnston, Wayne Knight.