Third-episode verdict: Trust Me

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 2

Time, I think, for a third-episode verdict on TNT’s advertising dramedy, Trust Me, what with there having been three episodes of it now. Coincidence? I think not.

You have to give it something – it’s been consistent. However, it’s consistently been a mess. Not a bad mess, just a mess. 

It has two basic problems: it’s playing it for the very long haul and it doesn’t have quite the right focus. As I mentioned when I reviewed the first episode, we have three central characters: Eric McCormack as the stressed group director/art editor; Tom Cavanagh as his writing parter; and Monica Potter as the award-winning writer the company hire to add to the team. 

Now, the trouble is, for the last three episodes, McCormack’s been a rubbish, not desperately charismatic boss and Cavanagh has been a far more entertaining (although not very entertaining) sidekick. If they’d switched jobs, the show could have been quite interesting – indeed, when Cavanagh briefly takes charge of a dinner event in the third episode, the show instantly becomes more involving. But as it stands, it all feels quite tame, like the school monitor’s turned up and no one’s allowed to run in the corridors any more.

Even worse, Monica Potter’s character has been treated awfully. In fact, the bulk of her storyline has been about how badly she – the only woman on the team – has been treated by McCormack’s inept leadership. No office, forced to work on the one account she said she didn’t want to work on, no partner to work with, ostracised: sorry, but a not very wacky boys club with not much apparent talent dumping over the obviously talented woman is only excusable when depicted 50 years ago in Mad Men.

As it is, I have zero interest and sympathy for the supposed two main characters and something edging towards loathing for them. Again, if it had been Cavanagh and Potter or even McCormack and Potter as the embedded team, with one of the others turning up as the new hire, that might have been more interesting than what we’ve got right now.

But, as I said, the show is playing it for the long haul and there are signs that by episode 254 or something, the boys will have learned the error of their ways, Monica will treated nicely and might be partnered with one of the old hands, and all will be good. Whether the (small) audience for the show will wait that long remains to be seen.

There are some nice touches to the show, and it feels authentic to the ad industry in at least a few ways. But I can’t help but feel that real life is actually more interesting than TV for once and the show really needs to get its groove on quickly, despite long-range plot planning, if it’s to be worth watching – or if it plans on surviving.

Carusometer rating: 2
Predictions: Will get better before the end of the season if it’s allowed to, but will probably be cancelled before then