Third-episode verdict: Marry Me (US: NBC; UK: E4)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 3

In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC
In the UK: Acquired by E4. Will air late 2014/early 2015

Romance is officially dead. Manhattan Love Story was the first of the US Autumn shows to get cancelled, and A To Z has just been given its marching orders, leaving the not-especially-romantic Selfie and NBC’s Marry Me as the last of the potential suitors, forlornly looking around in the hope that their dates are going to show up some time soon.

To be honest, though, I’d be surprised if Marry Me wasn’t stood up soon, too. Based on the real-life meeting and eventual marriage of writer David Caspe and actress Casey Wilson, it runs through the gamut of relationship events that can occur leading up to and following a marriage proposal (episode one), from moving in together (episode two) through to, erm, Halloween (episode three). And with Caspe (Happy Endings) writing and both Wilson and Ken Marino (Party Down) starring, it should be good.

Unfortunately, the most it ever does is make you admire it and occasionally smile wryly. As I said in the first episode, it clearly wants to be the new I Love Lucy, to the extent – it turns out – that Marino and Wilson actually dress up as Arnaz and Ball for Halloween. But really, despite some good writing, it’s never actually very funny. It tries hard to be edgy, to the extent of, say, blurring out the screen and beeping over dialogue to avoid nude and verbal indiscretions. But it’s that knowing edginess and the writers’ tendency to take what could be a good short, one-scene joke and then milk it for an entire episode that undermines its efforts.

It’s not without value and it’s enjoyable in its own way. But I’m not sure it’s a keeper.

Barrometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Will last a season but not more than that unless it’s very, very lucky.

Author

  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.