Like the song engraved on the headstone of Bradley Whitford‘s character’s wife, the new NBC comedy Perfect Harmony is a “fun little ditty about a man who loses his only family and has no reason to live.”
That man, former Princeton University music professor Arthur Cochran (Whitford), is literally moments away from suicide in Thursday’s series premiere when he’s mercifully distracted by the out-of-tune squawking of a nearby church choir, led by the relentlessly chipper Ginny (Anna Camp). Stumbling into the church in a drunken stupor, Arthur takes a moment to mock each individual singer before passing out and wetting himself. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, Arthur’s a real class act.
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Despite every hideous aspect of Arthur’s personality, Ginny asks him to help the choir prepare for an upcoming competition, a request he refuses until he discovers that the rival choir is being directed by the man who denied his wife’s request for burial in his megachurch’s mega cemetery. (The guy also apparently gave Arthur’s wife her first kiss in that cemetery when they were younger, which feels like an odd thing to tell a grieving widower. But hey, we all have to make small talk sometimes.)
Unfortunately, Arthur’s brash style of directing — which includes exposing a love triangle between Ginny, her ex-husband Wayne (Will Greenberg) and another choir member named Dwayne (Geno Segers) — gets him booted on his first day, though Ginny eventually has a change of heart when Arthur diagnoses her son with dyslexia. She previously suspected that her divorce was to blame for her son’s poor performance in school, so this actually comes as a relief.
Arthur returns to his choir’s side just in time to (sort of) help it perform a mashup of the “Hallelujah” chorus and Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger,” the latter of which is the song engraved on Arthur’s wife’s headstone. (A full-circle moment!) This unconventional performance earns the choir a “most-improved” award, as well as the ire of that no-good megachurch leader.
Time to weigh in: Did Perfect Harmony strike a chord with you, or is the NBC comedy just a bunch of noise? Grade the premiere below, then drop a comment with your full review.