If you don’t like a joke on Marry Me, you don’t have to wait long for the next one. The new half-hour romantic comedy series on NBC is packed to the gills with zippy lines, most of which hit their marks. With Casey Wilson (Happy Endings) and Ken Marino (Party Down) handling the lead roles, Marry Me is a fast-paced, frequently funny and strangely endearing comedy that may – if it continues in the same vein as the pilot – establish itself as one of the 2014 fall season’s best new half-hour shows.
Created by David Caspe (Happy Endings), Marry Me is a refreshing change of pace from the normal romcom fare as it switches up the premise to focus not on a “meet cute” followed by the advancement of an adorable relationship that oftentimes has no resemblance to reality, but instead on a couple who’ve been dating for six years and have yet to take the next step of getting engaged. Series stars Wilson and Marino are believable as a couple who are past the point where they worry about offending each other and instead find ways to reconnect after disagreements via sarcasm and snark.
The pilot, which aired on October 14, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT, kicked off with Annie (Wilson) trash-talking their friends and relatives after Jake (Marino) failed to propose during their vacation. Annie’s had enough of this dating business after six years and desperately wants to either make a commitment or break it off, something she makes crystal clear in an ill-timed rant. Standing with her back to Jake, Annie has a meltdown and won’t turn around even with Jake prompting her to do so. Her rant continues until she finally listens to him, turns, and sees Jake holding out an engagement ring. Her enjoyment of the moment is short-lived as Jake quickly lets her know all the people she just insulted (including his trash person best friend and his bitch of a mother) are hiding in the other room ready to celebrate their engagement.
There’s no graceful way to recover from her histrionics, but Annie does her best to try and un-ruffle some feathers. It doesn’t work – she said really cruel things during her rant – and Jake’s also over the whole engagement fiasco and needs some time away. The rest of the episode plays out much the same way, with misunderstandings, reconciliations, and flashbacks showing how they got to this point.
It’s all a bit too rapid fire at times, but the chemistry is solid between Wilson and Marino, two actors who seem completely invested in their characters. And, again, it’s a refreshing change of pace from the normal ridiculously cute couples that inhabit the world of TV comedies. Wilson’s Annie’s is a force of nature given to bursts of what she refers to as “beast mode,” while Marino’s Jake is the type of guy you’d love to just hang out with. He’s easy-going and not prone to emotional outbursts. Both the actors and the characters fit well together and hopefully the show will allow them to continue to test the strength of their relationship while also at some point giving the supporting cast (including Tim Meadows and Dan Bucatinsky as Annie’s gay dads) much more to do than just be the target of Annie’s barbs.
-By Rebecca Murray
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