Mini-review: Weird Loners 1×1 (US: Fox)

Friends with issues

Weird Loners

In the US: Tuesdays, 9.30/8.30c, Fox

Normally, when you hear the phrase ‘weird loner’, it’s being used to describe someone who went off on a killing spree or who turned out to be some kind of sex criminal. Now, even though Fox’s new Weird Loners incorrectly uses the phrase to mean ‘someone who’s older than 30 but isn’t married yet’ (no judgement), you should probably edge away from it as though it’s got a sniper rifle or someone locked in its basement.

The general premise is that four individually single people, through the interconnected nature of fate, etc, end up living together in the same Queens townhouse. Or next door to each other. Or both. It’s not 100% clear.

Neither is it clear exactly why they’re weird – apart from Nate Torrence (Hello Ladies, Mr Sunshine), who’s the kind of man who puts on glove puppet plays for kids on his front porch, even though there are no kids around. However, Becki Newton (Love Bites, The Goodwin Games, Ugly Betty) is simply someone who commits too quickly and gets a bit annoyed when men won’t commit quite as quickly as she will. Meera Rohit Kumbhani is a generally monogamous free spirit who doesn’t want to commit, while Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings) is equally commitment-phobic but far more into having sex with as many people as he can.

They’re loners. But they’re not really that weird.

This pilot episode, written by The King of Queens creator Michael J Weithorn, acts as an introduction to the four characters, with Newton and Torrence already living next door to each other, Knighton being Torrence’s cousin, and Kumbhani someone Torrence gets a lift from after buying a painting from her. And since they’re pretty much all homeless except Torrence, they all end up living in his house. Except Newton’s only homeless because she gives Torrence her house, so have they all ended up moving into her house or do they all have two houses between them now? I’m not sure.

For about 90% of the episode, the only weird loners you’ll spot are the occasional jokes that actually make you laugh. It’s only once we get into the final 10% and we get a scene of bad lip-reading that things actually start to get consistent.

But to be honest, you’ll end up either hating or feeling sorry for the characters, and wondering why the show’s writers think they’re to be mocked, as it doesn’t feel like they’re on their side at all.

Fox has only committed to six episodes for this one, so chances of this getting renewed, particularly with its low starting ratings are small, so it’s a comfortable recommendation from me not to move in with these faux Friends.

Plot
In a world full of happy couples, there are those who just can’t seem to figure it out…

WEIRD LONERS is a new single-camera comedy about four relationship-challenged mid-30-somethings who are unexpectedly thrust into one another’s lives, forming unlikely bonds in a Queens, NY, townhouse.

Starring Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”), Zachary Knighton (“Happy Endings”), Nate Torrence (“Hello Ladies”) and newcomer Meera Rohit Kumbhani, the series explores the lives of these underdogs who, each for his/her own distinct reasons, are solo singles when most of their peers are well along the path of marriage and family.

As the members of this off-kilter quartet get to know each other, they’ll face an endless array of riotous – and likely uncomfortable – circumstances, ranging from a reunion with an estranged pre-teen son, to confusion about same-sex dating, to scheming the art world to make a quick buck.

WEIRD LONERS is a show for all those who have at some point felt scared, lost, lonely and overwhelmed in the world of love and relationships. Namely, everyone.

WEIRD LONERS is produced by 20th Century Fox Television. The series is created and written by Michael J. Weithorn (“The King of Queens”). Weithorn, Jake Kasdan (NEW GIRL, “Bad Teacher”) and Melvin Mar (NEW GIRL) serve as executive producers. Kasdan directed the pilot.