'Marry Me': TV Review

Two people have been going out for a long time, and when the marriage proposal doesn't happen, the girlfriend goes batty and alienates al their friends and family. No, it's not 1954. It's just an ill-advised premise and a pilot that doesn't work.

There could be better episodes coming up for 'Marry Me,' but tonight's premiere is annoying and unlikable

This fall has been littered with sitcoms that want to get noticed so badly that they don't realize how badly they're going about it.

As in, yes, you're so incredibly annoying that I notice you and never want to come back.

Part of this is because it's a pilot, but most of this is because the system is broken and people making pilots are trying to pop on that first effort despite the damage that may be done.

Take tonight's Marry Me premiere on NBC for example, which starts off annoying and unlikable and rarely dips from that, even though fans of Happy Endings will no doubt tune in for star Casey Wilson and for that show's creator, David Caspe, who also created this one.

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You may remember ABC's Happy Endings as that show that started out annoying and about one thing and then got a lot better and became mostly about other things. Apparently, Caspe has trouble with beginnings. Since critics only got the pilot to Marry Me — and the pilot is not good — all that's left is to hope his latest effort gets better.

Unfortunately, nobody knows if that will even happen or how long it will take if it does. Normal viewers have time constraints. This is what escapes so many people making television today. For average viewers with jobs and families and other obligations and tons of other television options, time is the x-factor.

Second chances — rare. So rare. I wish I didn't have to beat that drum so often.

In Marry Me, we meet Annie (Wilson) and Jake (Ken Marino, Eastbound & Down), who have been going out for ages now (more than six happy years) and everything is great. But after a vacation where Annie thought a proposal was coming, she kind of snaps when they're back home (just as, you know, Jake is proposing to her).

It's not the most original scene and, as it plays out, you wish Annie would shut up, and you wish Jake would find a better way to make her realize what's happening and then, once he does, that he too would shut up. It's really not a fantastic way to introduce your characters to the world. Why spend 30 minutes with people you don't like?

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And, to be honest, the whole notion of a show about being married or not in 2014 seems a bit 1954, but apparently Caspe is confident he can mine lots of jokes from it. He was eventually able to do that in Happy Endings, and Wilson was a versatile fan favorite there as well.

The trouble for Marry Me is that Happy Endings was a show critics seemed to like more than actual viewers. And in that first block, I wasn't much of a fan precisely because the early episodes were bad. Later episodes were a vast improvement, but I never found it to be the object of cult affection that others did. And then it was canceled.

This is not a pattern to repeat.

Having only seen the pilot, and having been less than geeked-out on Happy Endings, it's damn hard to recommend this show either now or in the coming weeks. Who has the time?

If Caspe works out the kinks and makes Marry Me funny in a few weeks — and NBC hasn't killed it by then — maybe there will be time on your personal agenda to give it that second chance. But in television, those kinds of happy endings rarely happen.

Email: Tim.Goodman@THR.com
Twitter: @BastardMachine