Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pilot Review: Marry Me

Marry Me (Tuesdays at 9:00 on NBC)

NBC is batting zero with me this fall. Of the three new shows they've premiered (this one, Bad Judge, A to Z), none of them made me want to return for another episode. Maybe because they're all about annoying douchebags, especially the erratic Marry Me. What is the impetus to watch a show about awful people? I'll never know, and I won't be starting with Marry Me.

Annie (Casey Wilson) and Jake (Ken Marino) are the worst couple. The show opens with Annie going on a tirade because Jake didn't propose to her, after six years of dating, while they were away for a week on an idyll Mexican vacation. While she's busy insulting everyone in his life, Jake is behind her on one knee, ready to get married. Then everyone she's just pissed all over comes out of their hiding places for her surprise engagement party. What follows is a series of more botched proposals, with most signs pointing toward the fact that these two probably shouldn't be committing to a life together... but without an engagement, there's no show, so of course they're betrothed by the pilot's end.

Seriously though, these two are terrible. Jake is mildly forgivable, his biggest sin being that he lied to his boss about his father being on life support so that he could go on vacation instead. Otherwise, his most egregious flaw is that he's been with Annie for so long and wants to be with her for longer. Because Annie is the absolute worst. She is unbelievably self-centered, from her opening monologue about how Jake is a wuss for giving in to the wishes of everyone around him to her fishing for compliments from her yoga instructor and invading Jake's workplace to redo the proposal. Annie is a tornado of douche: she sweeps into a room and destroys everyone around her with her bitter insults and thoughtlessness. She calls her boyfriend's mom a bitch (to her face, unknowingly) and then gets him fired from his job. She's awful, and she knows it. In one of the only bearable scenes in the pilot, we see the first time Annie and Jake meet at a taco place. Annie, whose dads are gay, tells Jake to stop eating there because the owner supports anti-gay organizations... and then she gets an order delivered to the bench she's sitting on. Jake says, "You're a bad person," and Annie agrees. So at least she's aware, not that that makes anything better.

It doesn't help that Wilson overacts like crazy. Whereas Annie may just be kind of annoying in another actress's hands, in Wilson's she is insufferable. Wilson yells through Annie's first monologue in a near-shriek and accentuates the frenetic narcissism rampant in the character. It's such an obnoxious performance that it makes you feel sorry for Ken Marino, who's doing his usual, dependable thing as the more-tolerable Jake. He actually has some sweet moments in flashbacks to the couple's dating life, and it makes you wonder what the hell a mild-mannered guy like him sees in the Tasmanian Devil that is Annie. The supporting cast is all wasted in the first episode, though the only true laughs I got the entire time were from Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal) and Tim Meadows as Annie's dads. Marry Me would serve itself better to step away from the obnoxious central couple and embrace the supporting players.

Apparently, Marry Me is based upon star Casey Wilson's real-life engagement to series creator David Caspe (the guy behind Happy Endings). If this is anything like what their life is like, I feel really bad for Caspe... and for the world that Annie could actually exist.

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