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

    Saturday, April 4

    Danger Force - "Say My Name" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    The members of Danger Force are given terrible nicknames live on KLVY news, so they come up with a plan to announce to the world who they really are: Volt, AWOL, ShoutOut and Brainstorm.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 30)

    Friday, April 3

    • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Watch Miley on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • John Krasinski (The Office) - John is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Woody Harrelson (Cheers) - Woody appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Kathy Bates (Disjointed) - Kathy is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Billy Eichner (Friends from College/Difficult People/Parks and Recreation) - Billy appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Retta is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Norman Lear (Producer of All in the Family/Sanford and Son/One Day at a Time/The Jeffersons/Good Times/Maude) - Norman is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Fortune Feimster (The Mindy Project/Champions) - Fortune appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Billy Gardell (Bob Hearts Abishola/Mike & Molly/Yes, Dear) and Folake Olowofoyeku (Bob Hearts Abishola) - Billy and Folake are guests on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Laura Prepon (That '70s Show/Are You There, Chelsea?) - Laura appears on Couch Surfing at 8am.
    • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela talks about The Good Place on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Lisa Whelchel (The Facts of Life) - Lisa talks about You Light Up My Christmas on a repeat of Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane is a guest on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February/March/April)

    My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One Martin - The Complete Series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season

    01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One
    01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume Two
    01/14 - Veep - The Final (Seventh) Season (Blu-ray)
    01/14 - Veep - The Complete Series (DVD)
    01/21 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Third Season (WBShop.com)
    01/21 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Fifth and Final Season
    01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Series
    01/28 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (DVD)
    02/04 - Martin - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
    02/11 - Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season (WBShop.com)
    02/18 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    02/25 - Better Things - The Complete Third Season
    03/17 - Crashing - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    04/07 - Cheers - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
    04/14 - Police Squad! - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    04/14 - The Righteous Gemstones - The Complete First Season
    04/21 - Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season (WBShop.com)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    04/03 - Fri-Yay: Community Moving to Netflix Next Week; NBC Announces Final Episodes of Season List
    04/02 - American Dad! Celebrates 15th Anniversary; The Official Robin Williams YouTube Channel Launches
    04/01 - CBS All Access Is Tooning Out the News in This Pandemic Crisis; The CW Summer 2020 Schedule
    03/31 - The CW Announces Returns of Series Affected; Adult Swim Orders YOLO: Crystal Fantasy
    03/30 - Schedule Changes on ABC, CW Due to COVID-19; Insecure: The Game
    03/29 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 30, 2020)
    03/28 - SitcomsOnline Digest: One Day at a Time a Hit in Ratings; Late Night Talk Set to Return Next Week
    03/27 - Fri-Yay: Review of One Day at a Time Season 4 Premiere; NBC Sets Will & Grace Finale Night and Special I Love Lucy Episode
    03/26 - CBS Slates Primetime Special from Home with James Corden; Fox Announces Living Room Concert for America
    03/25 - Antenna TV Schedule Change on March 30, Doubling Up Comedies; Millionaire 20th Anniversary Premiere Celebs
    03/24 - ABC Giving A Modern Farewell to Series; Samantha Bee Returns from Home on Wednesday
    03/23 - Bounce Sitcom Returns April 1, No Foolin'; Never Have I Ever Gets Netflix Premiere Date
    03/22 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 23, 2020)
    03/21 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix and Hulu to Share Rights to Community; Preview of New Netflix Series Never Have I Ever
    03/20 - Fri-Yay: Best Sitcom Episodes for Coronavirus Isolation; Antenna TV Weekend Binge Marathons for Tough Times
    03/19 - Conan Returns March 30 via iPhone Video; Showtime Alters Schedule for Black Monday
    03/18 - Billboard Music Awards Postponed on NBC; Acorn TV Extends Free 30-Day Trial
    03/17 - Network Upfronts Canceled But Will Go on Digitally
    03/16 - Hallmark Slots More Golden Girls, Frasier; Primetime Schedule Changes Due to Coronavirus
    03/15 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 16, 2020)
    03/14 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Shout! Factory Acquires Broadcasting and Streaming Rights to Stephen J. Cannell Library; Schitt's Creek Plans for Series Finale
    03/13 - Fri-Yay: One Day at a Time Moves to Pop TV and Takes Jab at Former Home; Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt's Creek Farewell
    03/12 - Quibi Announces Fire Island Sitcom; ABC Picks Up 4th Season of Red Hot Drama
    03/11 - Apple TV+ Animated Comedy Premieres May 29; Brooke Burns Returns to GSN to Host Game Show
    03/10 - Netflix's Lost in Space Gets Final Season; Remembering Sitcom Writer Earl Pomerantz
    03/09 - Hulu Gears Up for Comedy Premieres in May; Quibi Programming Slate for April 6 Launch
    03/08 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 9, 2020)
    03/07 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Kids in the Hall Returning for New Episodes; Pop TV Cancels Florida Girls and Other Originals
    03/06 - DuckTales Returns with New Season and Cross-Overs with Disney Shows; Isla Fisher Joins CBS All Access Comedy
    03/05 - The CW Spring and Summer 2020 Schedule; Kim Fields Joins Netflix Sitcom
    03/04 - Hulu's Future Man Returns for Final Season; NBC Escapes with Celebrities
    03/03 - Just Roll With It Brings Out the Guest Stars; Quibi Announces Comedy Talk Series