Getting Personal” is the kind of fresh, lively comedy that gives raunch a good name, with “Partners” creators Jeff Greenstein and Jeff Strauss molding an agreeably silly premise with a wiggy ensemble of amusing eccentrics and coming up with a workplace comedy that really works. It’s funny and energetic. Period. No qualifiers.
Wearing its political incorrectness on its sleeve like a badge, the show manages to mine genuine laughs from an opening Greenstein-Strauss script that includes condom and diaphragm jokes. Perhaps not the high road, but with Vivica A. Fox of “Independence Day” and Duane Martin (“White Men Can’t Jump”) burning up the screen with their chemistry, this is hardly a bottom-feeder.
One of the show’s major selling points — besides its snappy dialogue and attractive center — is its way of blending black and white cast members, all of whom not only acknowledge the race issue but use it as the jumping-off point to satirize stereotypes. It’s practically a revelation that a network comedy would not only stick characters of different colors in the same space but also have them rag on one another about it.
Set in Chicago, show casts Fox as Robyn Buckley, a willful buppie who is set up on a blind date by a terminally geeky white guy named Sam Wagner (Jon Cryer in a terrific turn) whom she met in line at a restaurant. Robyn and her date, Sam’s egomaniacal co-worker Milo Doucette (the charming Martin), clash horribly even as the hormones heat up.
Then, in a typically implausible sitcom device, Robyn shows up the next morning at Milo’s production company offices. She’s his new boss! But the three leads are such lovable, smart wisecrackers that we can forgive that, particularly when they’re surrounded by the hyper-polite, overeducated assistant Leon (knee-slapping work from Reggie Hayes) and odd company owner Jack (a diverting Elliott Gould).
A future episode that introduces Robyn’s mother (Irma P. Hall, of “Soul Food”) and her marijuana-toking grandmother, Nana (Ketty Lester), is still funnier. The mom is having a fling with Robyn’s high school boyfriend. Nana gets the munchies a lot. Like a grandma should.
Everyone and everything is just a little off-kilter in “Getting Personal,” and sometimes it seems a bit too taken with its own sense of the outlandish. But breezing on as it does at midseason, this comedy doesn’t look or feel quite like anything else on the air — rather like the Fox hit that follows it on Monday nights, “Ally McBeal.”
The erratic nature of “Getting Personal” and its characters is the major selling point. If it’s difficult to think of condom jokes and stoned senior citizens at 8:30 p.m., well … just try not to think about it.