The pilot for NBC’s “Marry Me” isn’t love at first sight, but there’s enough potential there to expect that with time viewers may adore it.
“Marry Me” is the next entry in one of this fall’s favorite trends: romantic comedies. But it applies the “will they or won’t they” question to an already existing relationship. The question refers to marriage and you’re supposed to wonder if this couple will manage to get there.
It starts six years into Annie (Casey Wilson) and Jake’s (Ken Marino) relationship just as she’s losing her patience with the fact that they’re still not engaged and he’s ready to pop the question.
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They’ve just gotten back from a romantic Mexican getaway in which she believed he was going to ask her to marry him. But he planned to do it at her apartment upon arriving home. Before he can do so, she explodes and begins to rip him and everyone they know, including his mother, in a scorched-earth rant that ruins the moment.
From there, the entire episode revolves around the couple trying to create the right moment in which to get engaged.
I was looking forward to this show, because I loved ABC’s “Happy Endings.” I also loved Wilson on “Happy Endings” as the quirky and self-centered Penny. And this series pairs her as the star with her new real-life husband David Caspe, the creator of both shows, once again.
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But the pilot didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Wilson was clearly in her comfort zone as a woman prone to hysterics but who sees the error of her ways later. Marino is an ideal casting opposite to that with his much more grounded style and easy way in which he delivers the funny. But with just the two of them together on-screen for much of the episode, the pilot feels repetitive.
So you begin to miss two things. The ensemble that worked so well together on “Happy Endings” and the “will they or won’t they” tension of possible new love.
The first part may be solved on future episodes as the show begins to utilize the supporting players, which include Annie and Jake’s besties, Dennah (Sarah Wright) and Gil (John Gemberling), respectively; Annie’s gay dads, both named Kevin (Tim Meadows and Dan Bucatinsky); Jake’s mom Myrna (JoBeth Williams) and friend Kay (Tymberlee Hill).
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As for the second part, “Marry Me’s” flashbacks give us a look at the couple’s early relationship when the idea of them getting engaged is still only a far-off possibility. Still, there’s no mystery that Annie and Jake are meant to be with each other. They’re going to get married. The series will just need to draw that inevitability out as long as it can with a whole lot of, well, comedy.
That’s the reason why I can see this show getting better. In addition to the trust I have in Caspe when it comes to creating a show I want to watch, there were enough funny moments and lines in the pilot to show its potential.
I want to tune in to the second and third episode just to find out how this show will get away with prolonging the couple’s journey to the altar. And isn’t that what a pilot episode is meant to do? Entice us to watch more.
“Marry Me” premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.