Reviews of new US TV programmes from 2012
In the US: Saturdays, 10/9c, TBS
In the UK: Acquired by 5* for 2013 broadcast
In Canada: Saturdays, 10pm EST, MuchMoreMusic
In Australia: Wednesdays, 7.30pm, Network Ten. Starts December 5
Well, not much to report further on Wedding Band since my review of the first episode, other than that it’s perhaps slightly less funny and slightly crasser than it started out. Essentially The Wedding Singer relocated to 2012 but with four band members, it’s clearly aimed at men who, like the Loaded tagline, should (and in fact do) know better, and is best described as a romcom musical for straight men, in which a wedding band is revealed to have shaman-like wisdom and capacity to bring couples together.
Although it flirts with the situations you’d expect of both a TBS show and any US comedy involving a group men in a band, it’s got a lot more heart and brain than you’d expect. Episode two saw the ever-wooden Megan Fox turn up as the star of a science-fiction show who begins dating the show’s lead (and her real-life husband) Brian Austin Green, who discovers to his cost what nerds do to people who leak spoilers. This episode, disappointingly, was a lot closer to what you’d have assumed of the show just from the synopsis, with a slight mean-spiritedness and misogyny that it looked like it had avoided in episode one – here, we had a bunch of flabby, unkempt teen nerds being taught how to play mind games with hot teenage girls to get them to go out with them. But it did prove a golden opportunity for the writers to poke fun at cast member Harold Perrineau’s old show Lost, at least, and at least the nerds were doing it for love and were better prospects than the sexting blackmailing boys the girls were originally going out with.
Episode three saw a return to the style of the first episode, giving us something that was miraculously a bit more of a romcom, and a smart one at that, despite being set largely in a stripclub – it even managed to avoid any nudity. The show had a bit more class than you might have expected and again, despite the strip club and bachelor party storyline, somehow the entire episode managed to be about love, fidelity, how to have decent relationships with women and child care. It even carried a message that ‘strippers are people, too’.
On the whole, while it’s not the funniest show ever made, the best romcom ever or even the most average musical ever made – the stars are at least better singers than Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia – it’s a surprisingly agreeable Saturday night’s viewing that (almost) shows that male-oriented comedy doesn’t have to be crass and sexist. While the pace of the central romance could do with picking up, it needs more jokes and we could do with caring about the supporting cast more, it’s got enough goodwill and good traits for me to give it some latitude, at least.
And, let’s face it, it’s not often you get a show that does cover versions of Iggy Pop, Simple Minds, the Bloodhound Gang greatest, all in the same episode, throwing in The Pet Shop Boys’ ‘West End Girl’s on a cello and a glockenspiel for luck, so brace yourself for something more imaginative than you’d expect.
Barrometer rating: 3