Considering how strong the pilot for Marry Me was, I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that the follow up isn’t quite as good. It’s not that “Move Me” is some gigantic step down in quality, it just feels like a bit of a letdown here and there. Like the main characters Annie and Jake, Marry Me is still settling in, trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and playing around with those dynamics.
After the engagement(s) at the end of last week’ premiere, Jake is moving into Annie’s apartment. Of course if sitcoms have taught us anything it’s that this will not go as smoothly as the characters want us to believe. Jake comes in planning on moving things around, like Annie’s small TV into the bathroom, while his gigantic TV takes up the living room. Annie is freaking out, talking like a ‘90s standup comic whenever she gets nervous about the situation. She ends up essentially moving into her Volkswagen to have some “her” time.
The escalation of this idea does set it apart from other shows that have done similar things, but it’s never really all that funny. I think this has to do with the separation of Annie and Jake. The first episode was about these two working together to fix their problem (not nailing down the marriage proposal), but here they’re separated for much of the episode, both content with their isolation, rather than working out their problem.
Through SNL and especially Happy Endings, we know that Casey Wilson is at her best when she’s able to bounce off another character. This worked great on Happy Endings when she had five different, distinct characters to play with, but “Move Me” isolates her in her car, drinking wine and putting up curtains. Wilson’s style is often over-the-top—but intentionally so—so it does help to have a balance to that style.
I also appreciated “Move Me”’s confidence in its secondary characters—giving them their own stories without centering them around the main couple. Once again, John Gemberling as Gil stands out by being the strangest (almost cartoonish) personality in a show filled with mostly heightened characters. For example, in “Move Me,” he goes to an all-you-can-eat buffet before noon, and refuses to leave for over 24 hours. When he does finally leave, it’s by accident, and with more food in hand. All on his own, Gil is bringing a lot of that odd humor that David Caspe throws into his shows, making them much more enjoyable than just the regular sitcom.
But once again, the rest of the minor characters are getting short-changed, like Kay, who pops up every once in a while when it’s convenient, and Dennah, who is questioning how old she looks. At the advice of Gil, she decides to get Botox way before she needs it. This leads to a pretty funny allergic reaction for Dennah, but she has little else to do. Maybe worse, though, are Annie’s two dads Kevin and Kevin. They border on caricatures when they could be far much more than that. It makes sense that they’re both a little over-the-top since their daughter is Annie, but still, it feels like they could be a little more fleshed out than these borderline negative stereotypes.
“Move Me” is still quite a fun episode of Marry Me, thanks to the strange little twists, like Dennah’s Botox face and the version of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Shoop” changed to “Soup, ” but “Move Me” needed more Annie and Jake together rather than apart. It’s a small step down from last week, but still quite enjoyable.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.