by Talia Milavetz
The new NBC sitcom “Marry Me” stars Casey Wilson as Annie (named after the musical by her two gay dads) and Ken Marino, who plays her fiancé Jake. Though charming and funny, Annie is short tempered. Jake has commitment issues; he takes a year to say, “I love you,” and more than six to propose. While the characters’ quirks are funny alone, the real comedy comes from the flaws and dysfunction that occur when the two come together.
The show opens with what appears to be a scene from a typical romantic comedy movie. The couple of six years comes home from an anniversary trip glowing and happy. Annie suddenly freaks out, mad that Jake didn’t propose on their trip, and she starts insulting all of their friends and family. While Annie is clueless, the audience can see that Jake is already on one knee. The real shock comes when both Annie and the audience learn that all of their friends were hiding out, waiting to celebrate the engagement. Everyone is sent home and the engagement is called off. While the idea of this scene is a little overdone, it was executed so well that it was still funny and enjoyable.
The success of the jokes is largely due to chemistry between the actors. The two leads have a great connection. What’s even more striking is the clearly established relationships between the leads and their friends. When Annie goes to a yoga class with her friend Dennah (Sarah Wright), the audience can see that their relationship is lived-in and real which allows the comedy to come naturally. This scene stands out as one of the funniest in the pilot. The yoga instructor consistently calls Annie out on her wonky yoga habits. Since he can’t compliment her on her form, he is compelled to give other backhanded compliments such as, “I’m loving the sweatpants Annie. Way not to give in to the trends.” The comedic timing in the show is consistently spot on, with countless laugh out loud moments.
Yet as the show progresses, it is clear that many of the storylines could use some editing. Annie decides to propose to Jake, which is supposed to be surprising and new, but is really just reminiscent of Phoebe’s proposal to Mike on “Friends.” When Annie comes to Jake’s office to propose, and accidentally mentions their vacation to Mexico, Jake gets fired as he lied and told his boss he was in hospice instead of on vacation. The engagement is off again. They exhaust the “will they won’t they” question and it ends up feeling stale instead of amusing.
The show also uses flash backs in a similar style to “How I Met Your Mother.” While this device works well to give the audience insight on the development of a six-year relationship, its heavy use in the span of a 30-minute pilot simply feels uninspired.
Although some elements feel like a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy, “Marry Me” still manages to be a funny and likeable show. The fact that there is so much chemistry already developed in the pilot gives hope that there is a future for “Marry Me.”
Talia Milavetz is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.