Monday, October 13, 2014

NBC Fall Pilot Review: Marry Me - Premieres Tuesday, Oct. 14; Full Season Pickups for ABC's black-ish, Murder

Marry Me

Marry Me - Tuesdays at 9:00PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 9:00PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Six years ago, Annie and Jake bonded over their mutual love of nachos and they've been inseparable ever since. Now, after returning from a romantic two-week island vacation, Jake's all set to pop the question. Before he can ask, though, Annie lets loose on Jake for his inability to commit. She was expecting him to "put a ring on it" in paradise and now Jake's perfect proposal is ruined. Not wanting to spend the next 60 years talking about that mess of a proposal, Jake and Annie decide to hold off on the engagement until they can do it right.

Cast Details:

Casey Wilson as Annie
Ken Marino as Jake
John Gemberling as Gil
Sarah Wright Olsen as Dennah
Tymberlee Hill as Kay
Tim Meadows as Kevin One

Casey Wilson (Annie) is best known for her role as Penny Hartz on ABC's cult comedy hit Happy Endings. She was also a featured player on Saturday Night Live and starred in the Hulu exclusive series The Hotwives of Orlando, a parody of Real Housewives shows.

Ken Marino (Jake) starred as Ron on Starz's Party Down. He also plays Dr. Glenn Richie on Adult Swim's Children's Hospital. He has also appeared on the Yahoo! Exclusive web series Burning Love, a parody of The Bachelor.

John Gemberling (Gil) can currently be seen as Bevvers on Comedy Central's Broad City. He also appeared on shows such as The Office, Delocated, Happy Endings, and Key & Peele.

Sarah Wright Olsen (Dennah) has appeared in a number of television shows, most notably as Millicent Olsen on Parks and Recreation. She has also appeared on Mad Men, The Middle, Happy Endings, and Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23.

Tymberlee Hill (Kay) appears regularly on Drunk History on Comedy Central. She also starred alongside Casey Wilson in The Hotwives of Orlando. Her other appearances include guest spots on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Comedy Bang! Bang! and Grey's Anatomy.

Tim Meadows (Kevin One) is best known for his long-running role as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1991 – 2000. He also starred as Principal Duvall in the hit film Mean Girls. His other TV appearances include spots on Bob's Burgers, 30 Rock, and The Goldbergs.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 9:00PM ET/PT)

After a botched engagement, Annie (Casey Wilson) and Jake (Ken Marino) agree to "re-try" their engagement so they don't have to tell such a terrible story for 60 more years. However, after their next engagement gets botched, they begin to worry if they’re cut out for marriage after all.

Analysis:

In what has been a generally dire fall season for new network comedy, Marry Me is one of two comedy pilots that actually made me laugh out loud (the other is Black-ish). This, alone, makes it a contender for the best comedy pilot of the season, but it already has a few other things going for it. It's helmed by David Caspe, the creator of Happy Endings and stars Casey Wilson, one of the stars of Happy Endings (and also his wife!). It features a pretty solid recurring cast that could easily turn into a likable ensemble given some time, and its talented lead couple already have very good chemistry with each other. All of this adds up to a show that I think could eventually become great, but it's not there yet. The show's premise is groan-worthy, leaning hard on both sitcom and gender clichés that the show will hopefully be able to iron out pretty soon. And while I think the ensemble could become promising, the pilot doesn’t bring them all together in a way that a pilot of a wannabe ensemble comedy probably should. I'm not entirely sure if these people even know each other outside of their relationship to Annie and Jake, and I'm still not clear on who we're going to be seeing every episode (assumingly Jake and Annie's parents won’t be part of the ensemble – although, confusingly, one of her dads is listed as a regular while the other is not).

All of this leads to the Marry Me pilot feeling a little bit formless – there's a clear center at Annie and Jake, but it's unclear what, exactly, the rest of this show is going to be. And although Annie and Jake's relationship is somewhat interesting, it's not unique enough to sustain an entire premise of a show on its own. Of course, looking back at the Happy Endings pilot, it had similar issues – a cliché and unappealing premise (remember when it was a show about a couple that separated at the altar? Me neither!) and an ensemble that seemed talented but wasn’t fully fleshed out yet. The Marry Me pilot is considerably better than the Happy Endings pilot (if only because it has a much more assured sense of humor), but it also sort of feels like it’s desperately trying to be the show that Happy Endings eventually became. And really, that just makes me miss Happy Endings. So my instruction to Marry Me, as if it;s listening to me: make it so that I don't miss Happy Endings every time I watch you. Become your own show, with your own premise, with your own interesting characters. Flesh out your ensemble past the point where they’re all just stereotypes, and dig into your lead characters so they feel more unique and less like cardboard cutouts. If you do all of that, we could be on the way to something special here.

Conclusion:

Marry Me is loaded with potential. It has a creator who's proven himself before, a talented and likable lead couple, and an already sharp sense of humor. What it needs to do now is figure out just what, exactly, it is. "Couple that gets engaged" is not an interesting enough premise to sustain itself for a full season or even, really, a few episodes, so what it needs to do now is expand its world and its ensemble into something that we want to keep coming back to. It's on its way, but it needs a little bit more work to get there.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 at 9:00PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Marry Me Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • black-ish

    ABC has picked up the new hit comedy black-ish (22 episodes) and the new hit drama How to Get Away with Murder (15 episodes) for full seasons, in the first series pickups of the new season. How to Get Away with Murder was television's top series debut of the season and the biggest 10pm drama debut in two years in Adults 18-49. black-ish opened as the #2 series debut and the #1 comedy debut on television by the same metric. Additionally, black-ish had the best-ever viewer retention out of Modern Family for any comedy debut. The comedy stars Anthony Anderson as Andre "Dre" Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow Johnson, Yara Shahidi as Zoey Johnson, Marcus Scribner as Andre Johnson, Jr., Miles Brown as Jack Johnson, Marsai Martin as Diane Johnson and special guest star, Laurence Fishburne as Pops.

    How to Get Away with Murder

    How to Get Away with Murder stars Academy-Award Nominee Viola Davis as Professor Annalise Keating, Billy Brown as Nate, Alfred Enoch as Wes Gibbins, Jack Falahee as Connor Walsh, Katie Findlay as Rebecca, Aja Naomi King as Michaela Pratt, Matt McGorry as Asher Millstone, Karla Souza as Laurel Castillo, Charlie Weber as Frank Delfino and Liza Weil as Bonnie Winterbottom.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Tuesday, December 11

    The Conners - "O Sister, Where Art Thou?" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    When Becky helps Harris keep a secret from Darlene, it opens up a can of worms that causes a rift between the two sisters. Jackie supports Peter with his Nordic history project, and Dan reunites with an old friend.

    The Kids Are Alright - "Christmas 1972" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    When Peggy’s successful brother, Tom, drops in for Christmas, Mike immediately oozes with jealousy. Thus begins Mike’s one-sided competition with Tom, using his kids as pawns to help. After Tom gives the Clearys an extravagant Christmas gift, pride prevents Mike from taking it – putting him at odds with the rest of the family. Meanwhile, Timmy mistakenly receives $100 from his great-aunt for Christmas and contemplates whether he should do “the right thing” or keep it. Elsewhere, Eddie forgets to get Wendi a Christmas present and panic sets in.

    black-ish - "Christmas in Theater Eight" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    The Johnsons have a tradition of going to the movies on Christmas and they can never agree on what to see. Dre wants to see an important film about Rosa Parks, but they all want to see the latest action-packed superhero blockbuster. Meanwhile, Junior becomes embarrassed about taking a gap year after he runs into his ex-girlfriend Megan at the theater.

    Splitting Up Together - "Messy" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    After Lena and Vlad’s unexpected kiss, things get more complicated as they begin their new work partnership while working with a new client. Elsewhere, Martin goes to Paige’s house for more privacy and gets a glimpse into what a more typical divorced home life is, causing him to become uneasy. Back at home, Mason and Mae go head-to-head after Mae finds out that Mason has a crush on a pretentious girl at school.

    The Guest Book - "Everybody Loves Clark" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
    Tommy surprises Nikki with a spontaneous wedding ceremony; both are blithely oblivious to the fact that Vivian is kidnapping their child; some familiar faces from Mt. Trace return to sort things out.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 10)

    Tuesday, December 11

    • Ron Livingston (Loudermilk/Search Party) - Catch Ron on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Adam Pally (Making History/The Mindy Project/Happy Endings) - Adam is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Vanessa Hudgens (Powerless) - Vanessa stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Nicole Byer (Loosely Exactly Nicole) - Nicole is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Ellen DeGeneres (Ellen/The Ellen Show) - Ellen drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men/Jenny) - Jenny appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Maura Tierney (NewsRadio) - Maura is a guest on E!'s Busy Tonight at 10pm.
    • Kathy Bates (Disjointed) - Kathy chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Ashton Kutcher (The Ranch/Two and a Half Men/That 70s Show) - Ashton guest co-hosts The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Eugene Levy (Schitt's Creek/Greg the Bunny/Hiller and Diller) and Catherine O'Hara (Schitt's Creek) - Eugene and Catherine are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso and his wife Angela discuss holiday hacks on Access Live, so check your local listings.
    • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens/Fired Up) - Leah talks about Second Act on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela talks about The Good Place on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Dan Bucatinsky (Marry Me/Web Therapy/The Comeback) - Dan talks about Second Act on People Now at 12pm.
    • Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo discusses the season of giving thanks and the amazing efforts of St. Jude on the BUILD Series at 2pm.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

    The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

    10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
    10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
    10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
    10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
    10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
    10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
    10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
    10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
    10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
    10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
    10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
    10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
    11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
    11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
    11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
    11/16 - Man with a Plan - Season One
    11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
    11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
    12/04 - Family Guy - Season Sixteen
    12/04 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season
    12/18 - Our Cartoon President - Season One
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