Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pilot Talk 2014: Married and You're the Worst

Every TV season, networks bring out a new crop of shows, in hopes that they'll be the next big hit.  Pilot Talk is devoted to figuring out whether these shows are worth your time based on the first episode.

Married (FX, Thursdays at 10:00 PM)
FX's Married opens in the middle of things.  It doesn't bother with much setup, and instead it gives us an in media res moment between Russ (Nat Faxon) and Lina (Judy Greer).  The relaxed way in which the show handles the guidelines of a pilot episode matches the lived-in nature of the central marriage, which effectively hones in on the feeling of being with a partner for so long that you've developed a rapport that's a mix of love and hate.  Promos can often be misleading, but my general predictions about the show based on the little snippets that appeared in commercials during the past few weeks bear out in the full episode.  The scenes between Faxon and Greer are the show's strength, mostly because of the easygoing chemistry between the two of them, but Married is just as shaggy as it appeared to be in the promos.  This proves to be a detriment to the pilot, which kind of drags.  It certainly doesn't help that the episode separates Russ and Lina for much of the middle stretch, and gives the former a subplot about a mistress that's largely unfunny and kind of off-putting.  If I'm being honest, I should probably give this pilot a C+, but I'm bumping it up based on the potential the show has with Faxon and Greer at the center.
Grade: B-

You're the Worst (FX, Thursdays at 10:30 PM)
If there's anybody who thought the pilot of Married was unpleasant, then after watching You're the Worst, they'll probably think Married is Parks and Recreation.  You're the Worst is a very, very unpleasant show.  Once again, the promos gave a pretty good idea of what this would be.  Those commercials were off-putting because they made the series just seem like a story of two jerks who join forces to act like jerks together, all the while dealing with the push and pull of their "I hate you...but I actually kind of like you" dynamic.  If that felt boring and unappealing in short snippets, then imagine how boring and unappealing it is for a whole episode.  It's not all bad though -- the sexual frankness of the pilot is refreshing and lead actress Aya Cash at least has a wonderful comedic presence.  Unfortunately, that's not enough to make up for the mountain of problems that exist in the rest of the show.  It's possible to make a good show that's full of repellent characters: Veep, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Seinfeld.  You're the Worst, however, doesn't even come close to pulling it off.
Grade: C-

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