NBC’s “Marry Me” is one of the most promising new sitcoms of the fall 2014-2015 TV season. The romantic comedy is inspired by creator David Caspe‘s real-life marriage to star Casey Wilson (both from the canceled “Happy Endings”), but many of its best lines come from veteran comedians Ken Marino and Tim Meadows (“SNL”).
The cast gathered together Wednesday night at PaleyFest to plug the half-hour, as-real-as-it-gets look at love.
Marino (“Party Down”) plays Caspe’s on-screen counterpart, which basically means he fights a lot with Wilson for 22-minutes at a time. True to form, the two stars opened PaleyFest with a little bickering — but it had nothing on Caspe and Wilson’s on-stage spat later in the panel.
“She can be a handful,” Caspe joked of his wife several times, invoking several different meanings — including at least one sexual double entendre.
“You’re coming off like a handful,” Wilson eventually snapped back. “I’m coming off like a breeze.”
“That’s because you’re a terrific actress,” Caspe quickly retorted.
This back-and-forth is “Marry Me” in a nutshell.
While the comedy may come naturally to the “Marry Me” cast, mapping out episodes in a seemingly played-out genre is more difficult.
“It’s just hard,” Caspe admitted to the audience at the Paley Center for Media. “Everything feels like it’s been done already, so you just try to do it funnier.”
One way Caspe differentiates his shows from other romantic comedies is by removing the drama. Caspe and his cast discussed the importance of dropping the cliched “Will they or won’t they?” aspect from the show, instead just focusing on what happens when the answer is, “They will.”
But much like a real marriage, that doesn’t mean that it’s all love — or at least, not all “like” all of the time. “It cuts that saccharine sweetness with pretty subversive jokes,” Marino said of the material.
Caspe had a harder time explaining where his new show fits in to television’s long history of relationship shows: “I don’t know what we’re doing,” he said, perhaps only half-jokingly.
Except he definitely does know what he’s doing. The funny “Marry Me” pilot has birthed even funnier episodes, Caspe promised — though again, his optimism came with more self-deprecation. Caspe says the new scripts are “way better” because now he has a dozen other “super-funny” writers to collaborate with, which equals more jokes.
On-screen, that numbers theory carries through.
Following the pilot, “Marry Me” gets more ensemble-y, Marino said. Caspe concurred, adding that he’s trying to get everyone from his old NBC show, “Happy Endings,” to at least provide cameos on his new show.
As it stands, though, “Marry Me” goes way deeper than the proposal it opens on and the wedding it naturally promises.
Those not into the romantic side of romantic comedies shouldn’t be turned off, Caspe said. “It’s not about marriage … we just couldn’t think of a better title.”
“Marry Me” premieres on Oct. 14 at 9 p.m. on NBC.