Uneven 'Episodes' Put Matt LeBlanc to Good Use, But He Makes Few Friends

Parts of the first-season finale of 'Episodes' (9:30PM ET Sunday, Showtime) are very funny.

But it takes a long time for 'Episodes,' which chronicles the adventures of an English couple adapting their hit British show for an American network, to get to places that are consistently amusing or emotionally nuanced, despite first-rate work from the show's cast.

Creators Jeffrey Klarik and David Crane, who've written for everything from 'Friends' to 'Mad About You' to 'The Class,' have endured their share of frustrations while they labored in the network sitcom trenches, and 'Episodes,' which stars a sly and skilled Matt LeBlanc as a self-absorbed version of himself, is clearly their revenge on narcissistic actors and an entire army of network suits.

The thing is, if Crane and Klarik were trying to avoid and mock the limitations of traditional sitcoms, why make a comedy that is often obvious and broad? Why create characters that are, for much of the show's seven-episode run, one-dimensional and disposable?

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