‘Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris,’ far from perfect

Post “How I Met Your Mother,” everyone believes that if you need someone to give your show life, you can just throw in Neil Patrick Harris and call it a day. For the most part, this idea has worked, but this was not the case for “The Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris.” Although the show was original and the guests were strong, it was blatantly obvious that this was a show.

In terms of the types of shows NBC has tried to do in the past few years, this one was surprisingly and refreshingly original. One of the first things the show did was featured Harris following a young couple at their hotel, at a football game and on their wedding day. Afterwards, he awarded the couple with a free honeymoon trip. Although incredibly creepy when given serious thought, it gave the show a new concept and it was a great way to kick things off. Who wouldn’t want Harris following their life and then giving them a bunch of free stuff?

Another upside to the show was all the guests that appeared in the first episode. Reese Witherspoon (“Hot Pursuit”) appeared as the guest announcer, Nicole Schrezinger of The Pussycat Dolls, is slated to return to the show every week alongside Harris and Carson Daly (“The Voice”) were some of the celebrities to appeared on the program. They also had a special musical performance of “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gayner and connected it to fans at home who got to sing along for the chance to win some cash.

Of all the guests, Gayner was the only one you could tell was being genuine. The others, even Harris, were obviously reading jokes from a script. The games and activities the actors put themselves through seemed fun, but it was covered with enough fake enthusiasm to drown an elephant.

Harris and Witherspoon were a prime example of this during their face off. Harris claims he is going to face a random challenger, whether the show’s guest announcer, Schrezinger, an audience member or a mystery guest, in either a physical or mental challenge. This week, he faced off with Witherspoon in an aerial obstacle course. Although somewhat fun to watch, it was clear that the entire time the actors were doing the course they were thinking, “Okay, you’re on TV. Be sure you smile. Laugh. You’re supposed to be having a good time.”

The show has a lot of potential and when further developed and worked out, there is no doubt the show will bring fans and revenue to NBC. The first episode got nearly 6.8 million views and has been slated to move from 10 p.m. to 8 p.m. If the actors stop acting and enjoyed their time, there is no doubt the fans will play along too.