Marry Me has been on a roll, trying to introduce us to the wide variety of supporting characters the show has thrown our way. “Scary Me” gave us a deeper understanding of the sadness within Gil, while last week’s “Thank Me” showed us a different side of Jake’s mother Myrna. These two episodes did a great job of giving us depth to characters who had been painted with broad strokes thus far.
“Bruges Me” attempts to do the same with the two characters that need this type of attention the most: Annie’s two fathers Kevin 1 (Tim Meadows) and Kevin 2 (Dan Bucatinsky). Unfortunately, this also just so happens to be Marry Me’s most confused, disconnected and least funny episode so far.
Both stories in “Bruges Me” just don’t have much to latch on to, or enjoy. Jake’s attempt to bond with the Kevins has some humor to it—there’s the first lunch together with Annie, as they desperately look for something to say to each other, and even try to drag their waitress into the awkwardness. But that’s about where the fun stops. The bonding turns into Jake and Kevin 1 bonding over motorcycles, which makes Kevin 2 angry, and eventually the entire episode is about how Kevin 1 is afraid to get married to Kevin 2. It feels sloppy, and just comes out of nowhere in order to grant some sort of resolution to this weird plot.
The second story is only slightly better, where Annie and Gil are attempting to create a song to sing at the Flemish Pride Parade. The idea of getting Annie and Gil together—two people who couldn’t be more different—is promising, but doesn’t pan out. Maybe it’ll work better in the future. The only real benefit of this plot is the punchline to the entire story, where Gil and Annie sing their adaptation of Patti LaBelle’s “New Attitude,” remixed to become “Bruges Attitude” to an audience of pretty much no one but family and friends. There’s a karaoke-style sing-a-long lyric presentation at the bottom of the screen for fans at home join in.
My biggest worry for Marry Me remains the handling of Dennah and Kay. After the Gil and Myrna episodes, I hoped these two were getting their own stories. Here, they’re once again wasted away, relegated to commenting on Annie and Gil’s rehearsals. But after the way the Kevins were handled, I’m worried that maybe these two might not have enough substance to hold their own focus. While Annie, Jake, Gil and Myrna have all been fleshed out quite well so far, it still feels like the Kevins, Dennah and Kay are more caricatures than actual characters.
After the pilot episode of Marry Me, I was also worried that this big a cast—all of whom were presented in the first episode—could be overwhelming. But knowing that Marry Me’s creator is David Caspe, I gave the series the benefit of the doubt. “Bruges Me” is the first big misstep in Marry Me, with the entire episode feeling disjointed and disappointing. Six episodes in, and only one bad episode is a pretty good track record, but “Bruges Me” does give me my first doubts about the show so far.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.