April 09, 2020

‘The Class,’ 8 p.m. CBS

The old adage got it right: Dying is easy, comedy is hard.

Just ask CBS. The Eye has struggled for years to collect four solid comedies for its Monday night lineup.

This year it’s close but no cigar. The weak link this season is the new series “The Class,” which for some reason leads off the evening.

This one sounded good on paper, with its executive producers David Crane (“Frasier”) and Jeffrey Klarik (“Mad About You”) and its director James Burrows (“Will & Grace”). Unfortunately, its medium is broadcast, not print.

At the center of “The Class” is Ethan Haas (Jason Ritter), a pediatrician who decides to make a grand romantic gesture for his fiancee. He plans a party reuniting members of his third-grade class, from the year when he and his fiancee first met.

Then poor Ethan gets dumped by his fiancee in front of a group of virtual strangers that he hasn’t seen for 20 years. But the party serves as a catalyst to bring these people back together, and soon they’re hooking up: a pair of misfits, a trophy wife and her loser ex-boyfriend who’s still living at home with his mother, and the broadcaster who still holds a grudge against her school crush who turned gay. Even Ethan may get a second chance at love with a sarcastic photographer.

With its pedigree and a talented if anonymous cast, there should be more to “The Class.” There’s an awkwardness to it that’s offputting. Perhaps as the characters start to gel, the banter will strengthen. So potentially it’s too early to dismiss “The Class.”

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