TV Review: ‘Marry Me’

Marry Me NBC TV Review

The backstory to “Marry Me” — with the show’s creator and star being actual newlyweds — might be the best and worst thing this romantic comedy has going for it. A reunion of “Happy Endings” showrunner David Caspe and actress/wife Casey Wilson, the series works a little too hard at conjuring whimsy, beginning with a botched marriage proposal and all the hurt feelings that ensue. But amid a fall with several similarly themed shows, including NBC’s more promising “A to Z,” there’s just not enough substance here to suggest “happily ever after” is in the show’s future.

Annie (Wilson) and Jake (Ken Marino) have been together for six years, and she returns home from a romantic vacation miffed and disappointed that he didn’t pop the question. So when he drops to one knee, it’s not enough to interrupt her unbridled rant about him and pretty much everyone he knows, even with family and friends hiding nearby to share the moment — and hearing every word.

If that spoils perhaps the show’s biggest gag, it’s almost impossible to understand what follows without it, as the two labor to repair the damage, while flashing back to the beginnings of their relationship (presumably) to help grasp why the attraction is so strong between them.

But there’s a reason romantic comedy movies run 90 minutes or so, which is to say the impediments to getting a couple together can be significant but not insurmountable. And the problems triggered by the differences between Annie and Jake are mildly adorable, yes — “Why does everything have to be such a huge production with you?” he asks at one point — but not so formidable as to want to ride this roller-coaster on an open-ended basis.

Despite some funny bits and solid supporting players — including JoBeth Williams, a recurring character as Jake’s disapproving mom — the writing also works a bit too hard at times, like the assertion that the couple is so joined they’re like “Paula Deen and the N word.” Ditto for the fact Annie’s gay dads (Tim Meadows, Dan Bucatinsky) still squabble over who the actual biological father is, or the fact the show contains several bleeped expletives, which feels less edgy than mildly desperate.

NBC has scheduled the series Tuesdays coming out of “The Voice,” which should funnel a lot of viewers in its direction. But as we’ve seen in the past, there can be a big difference between catching the bouquet and actually making it all the way to the altar.

TV Review: 'Marry Me'

(Series; NBC, Tues. Oct. 14, 9 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Los Angeles by FanFare Prods., Shark vs. Bear and Sethsquatch, Inc. in association with Sony Pictures Television.

Crew

Executive producers, David Caspe, Seth Gordon, Jamie Tarses, Moses Port, David Guarascio; co-executive producers, Andrew Guest, Erica Rivinoja, Erik Sommers; producers, Jordan Cahan, Patrick Kienlen, Matthew Libman, Daniel Libman; director, Gordon; writer, Caspe; camera, David Hennings; production designer, Shepherd Frankel; editors, Jon Corn, Shawn Paper; casting, Lisa Beach, Sarah Katzman, Josh Einsohn. 30 MIN.

Cast

Casey Wilson, Ken Marino, Sarah Wright Olsen, John Gemberling, Tymberlee Hill, Tim Meadows, JoBeth Williams, Dan Bucatinsky

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  1. Doc Hazel says:

    Please – send this one to the trash heap. Bad characters, trite dialogue, weak plot line…put a gun to my head and pull the trigger before the next episode is shown…either that or make me drink from the same cup as certain nurses do from a hospital in Dallas…..

  2. Jacques Strappe says:

    Just made me miss Happy Endings that much more. I love the caffeinated dialogue and all the pop culture references that zip by. And I really like Wilson here doing her Happy Endings Penney character all over again but the individual pieces of Marry Me don’t come close to matching the whole of Happy Endings. Caspe is perhaps the most gifted comedy creator in television at the moment as he channels those zany, talky, black and white screwball comedies from the 30’s and 40’s when breezy, sophisticated dialogue was king.

  3. kookoo63 says:

    The problem with David Caspe’s creations (both this and Happy Endings) is that every character speaks in the same voice. And “the joke” takes precedence over character development. It’s a shame. Caspe is stuck in a “night out with the cast of the Groundlings Sunday show” wherin everyone has to prove (through mostly annoying cadence and vocal variances) that they’re the funniest one in the bar. And if you’ve ever been in that agonizingly needy situation you understand that Caspe (and his characters) need to relax a bit if this is going to work. Hope they do.

  4. N. Bischoff says:

    Awful, I was hopeful but it was painful to watch. The “Paula Deen and the N word” was in such poor taste. It will be hard to give this one a second look.

  5. Perfectly horrible low-brow humor. Producers should look at “Cristela’ for guidance in what many of us want..

  6. TV Used To Make Me Laugh says:

    Spot on review. The show also highlights the problem with single cam comedies — to make up for the loss of laughs coming from punchlines of multi-cam, characters’ actions become more cartoony. Sometimes it works (30 Rock, Malcolm), but more often it just divorces the characters from reality. Then people lose interest.

    You know what will save the sitcom? MAKE THEM LESS “FUNNY.” Look at shows like “Mary Tyler Moore” and “Mad About You.” Way less jokes per minute than we have now. This created a better sense of reality, and characters we could care for. “Louie” and “Maron” are new examples of shows that have less” jokes,” and yet connect with audiences more. But in a world where everything is tested by tourists holding green and red buttons, 30 seconds between jokes is too much for TV execs to handle.

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