By Christina MurphyCOLUMNIST
In a world flooded with epidemics, wars, genocides and four different Law & Order spin-offs, it can get scary out there. Sometimes we need an excuse to be coddled and told everything is going to be okay. This is why we have seen an alarming influx of romcom sitcoms on network television this season. While this sounds horrible both in pronunciation and concept, I was pleasantly surprised by this week’s premiere of NBC sitcom, “Marry Me”.
David Caspe’s unique brand of weird comedy is back and hopefully here to stay for longer than his last go with network television. The show stars Caspe’s real life wife, Casey Wilson, who starred in his previous cult classic sitcom, “Happy Endings.” She plays Annie, a narcissistic, over-the-top woman who is hell bent on marrying the love of her life, Jake, played by Ken Merino. Merino too is a weird comic guru who has had memorable roles in the summer staple, “Wet Hot American Summer” and the short-lived, but hilarious television show “Party Down.”
Caspe takes familiar sitcom frameworks and fills them with something unexpected and unique; like filling a cupcake pan with guacamole, but it’s not disgusting, it’s hilarious! The only problem with this model of television is that it could turn away viewers who thought they were in for a typical sitcom, but too seemingly normal in previews to draw in someone with a weird taste in television.
Caspe sprinkles his dialogue with the most obscure pop culture references and always touches upon whatever ridiculous yuppie-type fads are passing through at the moment. His uncanny ability to capture the essence of a very specific lifestyle from an insider perspective is only made more impressive by his tendency to rip it apart with the bite of an outsider. He writes to an incredibly narrow audience of people who begrudgingly sweat through hot yoga classes and go on kale juice cleanses that they give up on the third day because they miss pizza.
The pilot episode features their multiple botched engagements and follows a nonlinear format that includes flashbacks of their six-year-long relationship. After the adorable opening credits montage, which is set to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ “Home,” I instantly want to learn more about this couple. They’re not perfect, in fact they are both more than willing to admit that they can be terrible people sometimes, and this makes me like them even more endearing.
An odd cast of characters makes up the couple’s supportive family and friends. Jake has a mother who at first seems to cause tension for the couple, and Annie has two gay dads who are both named Kevin. Annie’s best friend is a girl who does not believe in marriage and wears too many rompers, and Jake’s is a short and stout man who Annie refers to as a “garbage person.”
“Marry Me” started out with solid ratings but mixed reviews from critics. A bone some critics had to pick with the show was that they believed it to be perpetuating the stereotype that women are all marriage-obsessed monsters who gauge their success by whether or not they have a ring on their finger and/or Instagram.
While I see how some may interpret the show as such, I really do not think that this is the show’s message at all. I do not see this as a story about two people settling down because one’s eggs are drying up and the other’s mother just wants to see her son settled. I see this as a story of two people who love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together, they just can’t seem to get the logistics of marriage together. I’m not too focused on the over-the-top proposals or watching these unhinged characters plan a wedding.
I look forward to seeing Annie and Jake’s already bumpy journey towards their own happy ending. “Marry Me” airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. and is available on Hulu.