I suspect that one of the reasons why Zach Galifianakis has lost weight is to separate himself from the copycats now populating primetime TV. The new fall season offers three new romantic comedies. A to Z and Women Are Crazy, whoops, I meant Marry Me, have two supporting characters that are obvious Zach-types: tubby, boy-men with personalities that are bizarre and who say inappropriate and snarky things. The other series, Manhattan Love Story, has male characters that are fit and trim but sport lots of facial hair and snarkiness so they might as well be Zach-types. I can hear the TV execs now when discussing casting.
Exec 1: “We need Zach Galifianakis for the thankless role of doofy sidekick.”
Exec 2: “He’s skinny now.”
Exec 1: “Which means he’s probably not funny anymore. Bummer … then let’s roundup some actors who are like the old funny fatso Zach.”
This really isn’t a post about shameless casting attempts; it’s about romantic comedies and which one I’ll continue watching this season.
A to Z
This one’s my favorite. The prologue, narrated by the authoritative yet personable Katey Sagal, states: Andrew and Zelda will date for eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour. This program is a comprehensive account of their relationship – from A to Z.” Already I’m intrigued because there’s a built in clock in this relationship. I want to see where it goes. Also, the pilot had some nice touches that pulled me in. The leads are cute and charming, and there’s real chemistry between the actors. Andrew is the romantic one who works for an online dating company. Zelda is the practical one and is no surprise, an attorney. The couple’s sidekicks/Greek Chorus are made up of the Zach G-type, who while weird has some funny things to say and Zelda’s co-worker galpal, Stephie. She acts as a clever foil. Big plus she’s played by Lenora Chrichlow, the ghosty girl from the British Being Human series. Episode three (letter “C”) dealt with online privacy and trust issues in insightful and amusing ways. This series has all the makings of a modern world rom-com, so I think I’ll make it to episode “Z.”
Manhattan Love Story
A rom-com set in Manhattan—I’m in! At least, that’s what I had hoped. The pilot starts off by introducing us to Dana. We hear her inner thoughts in voiceover as she drools over the many designer handbags she passes by on the street. It’s cute and funny. So far so good. We meet Peter and hear his thoughts as he ogles passing women. Ugh, not so good. My husband once said to me, “If you knew what men were regularly thinking about it, you’d be horrified.” Well, that about sums up my thoughts about Peter. In romantic comedies, we’re supposed to be excited, intrigued and drawn to the hero. He may at first be unlikable, e.g., Mr. Darcy, but as we get to know him, we’ll come to love him as much as the heroine. While I like the inner thoughts/voiceover device in general, I don’t want to hear Peter’s. They’re too icky and not funny. I want some mystery in my romantic lead. There’s no mystery to Peter; he’s a douchebag.
Update (10/24/14): According to USA Today, “The network (ABC) Friday dropped the low-rated Tuesday comedy, making it the first cancellation of the fall broadcast season.” Apparently, other viewers agreed with me.
Romantic comedies are about rooting for two people to fall in love. The couple is often mismatched, which makes the journey of how they come together so much fun: she’s a neatnik, he’s a slob; she’s an animal rights activitist, he’s a big game hunter; and my favorite, she’s slightly neurotic and he’s laidback. In this show, Annie (played by Casey Wilson) doesn’t just have adorable quirks and foibles: she’s crazy! … as in out-of-her-mind-why-isn’t-her-boyfriend-breaking-up-with-her-right-now crazy. In the pilot, she launches into an ugly rant about why Jake, her boyfriend, didn’t propose to her on their vacation. She is so obnoxious, mean and unflattering, I disliked her instantly, and never recovered from this. Annie realizes what she’s done and tries to make up for the situation. She tells Jake, “For some reason I just explode my life. This is why I need you.” Jake responds, “I need your explosions; you challenge me.” What man says that let alone believes it?! Well, these two can continue to challenge each other in their own special way; I just won’t be watching.
Have you been watching the Fall season? Tell me which is your favorite.