“This is what happens when we don’t make a plan,” Kay says to Dennah while they watch Annie and Gil belt out a tune, discovering their shared ‘it’ factor. Yet, it’s not just Kay and Dennah who don’t have a plan. No one really seems to have a plan for Kay and Dennah. Their jobs on Marry Me in its short run have been to act as windows dressings and the conduit to the occasional (well-delivered) one liner, while everyone else around them gets to do something considerably more interesting. Yet, I crave more of them, their shtick not yet tired, their place in the ensemble not yet worn out. In “Thank Me,” I praised the work of JoBeth Williams as Jake’s mom because her cool bitchitude acted as a counterbalance to the frenetic Annie. But in watching “Bruges Me,” my affinity for Williams’ performance came in part because it was little bit different from the norm. Perhaps I crave more Dennah and Kay for similar reasons. They haven’t done enough to make their me sour on their characters yet, so I’d like to see more of them. It’s not that every character is so wholly unlikable, but that I keep waiting for them to do something on their own. Then again, I got more of the Kevins and it wasn’t all I had hoped for, so maybe Dennah and Kay should stay in the background, relegated to non-plots, in an effort to keep them safe from scrutiny.
I liked the basic idea of “Bruges Me,” giving the Kevin Maries a chance to take over an A-plot with Jake, while Casey Wilson gets a bit of a break from pushing plots forward out of sheer will and gets to rest in the B-plot with John Gemberling’s Gil. Jake goes on a mission to bond with Annie’s dads at the behest of their relationship counselor, leading to a break between the Kevins, manifested in a fight over a Vespa. There were some great little moments in the trios attempts to be friendly, namely Jake and Tim Meadow’s Kevin desperately pleading for their waitress to stay and talk to him, yet these moments were couched in others where the only sane person in the room, once again, is Jake.
Their behavior is at odds with how the Kevins normally act as a function of the plot, where they are the calming presence to Annie’s particular brand of insanity. Meadows’ Kevin distaste for marriage after 35 years with Dan Bucatinsky’s Kevin felt contrived, and yet wrapped up entirely too quickly by Jake, whose only flaws seem to be when he rubs the wrong way against the crazies around him. There was no basis or groundwork for this revelation, which was partly the point, yet it was resolved with one good talk from Jake, making him this all-purpose fixer. He can control Annie’s crazy on a regular basis, and he’s got enough energy left over to deal with her parents as well. It makes sense that the Kevins would beget Annie’s own neuroses with their own, but they make this major life decision because of a simple conversation with Jake. Even though he spends only a short time with Annie in “Bruges Me,” he still ends up as her savior by being the catalyst of her fathers’ reconciliation. It may be indirect but Jake always gets to save the day in some way. Maybe it’s time to give someone else a turn. Dennah and Kay don’t seem to be doing all that much. . .
In other environs, Gil and Annie are hanging out together, although her quest to bond with Gil seems odd considering how much time they seem to spend together. But, dare I say it, Gil did not want to make me cock my head slightly to the side and groan. But is this entirely on Gil, or does it once again have to do with Wilson’s onscreen affability, especially when she is playing up the role of flawed diva, something she’s not entirely new at? But I won’t begrudge a chance to watch Wilson musically vamp. What I thought was really interesting about this plot was not the plot itself, but how the payoff song was presented, with 8 bit-esque subtitles underneath, as if it was asking to be made into a Tumblr GIF sequence. It reminded me a lot of the “soup” dance sequence from “Move Me,” in that it could act as a standalone shareable item. It’s something you could post on Twitter and say to your friends, “Hey, watch this show, isn’t it funny?” Happy Endings was adept at conforming to the Tumblr standard as well, and I wonder if this is intentional beyond the realms of the artistic merits of the show; viral marketing inherent to the plot.
- Like the Kevin chemistry? Good thing: Dan Bucatinsky was upped to series regular.
- “There was a little bit of inbreeding.” “Why are you proud of that?” “It’s nice to have a family that gets along.”
- “You’re wrong, they’re shopping for sweater vests.” “You need to work on your shading”
- “No, no, no. I love rumble balls”
- “Do you know what we used to call those in the emergency room, which was right next to my first stationary story?”
- “I have a little private dick in me.” — And I wept for the loss of Vinnie Van Lowe
- “Annie, talking from the toilet. kind of a home thing.”