“Girls, what’s my weakness?” “Soup.”

The Home Place Buffet employees’ souped-up (heh heh heh) version of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Shoop,” capping off “Move Me,” was easily the highlight of the second of episode of Marry Me. Foreshadowed in the beginning of the episode by Gill, who has decided to take residence up in the buffet as a belated fuck you to his oft-mentioned ex-wife: “I’m not going to lie, I saw some weird stuff in here last night. Did not realize how much ceremony was involved in the changing of the soups.” Just like Gill, Kay and Dennah, we’re supposed to look upon this magical scene with wonder and bemusement. Kay sums it up quite nicely: Honestly. Damn. It’s this totally skewed moment finishing off a hour that could have used similar skewing.

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Gill trying to move into the Home Place Buffet was not exactly a normal occurrence, nor was Annie moving into her car, but “Move Me” didn’t has the same verve that the pilot episode had. Annie and Jake’s roundabout engagement was a new spin on the rom-com staple, starting our affair with this couple in the middle of their relationship, rather than the beginning. But Marry Me regresses in its relationship progress in “Move Me” when it could have moved forward.

“Move Me” aptly shows Annie and Jake moving in together after their six-year romance. The collision of lives, not just in the temporary sense, but the permanent one, leads Annie to retreat to her happy place, or her Volkswagen. In her car, she has a safe space away from Jake’s messy Vietnamese food and bathroom televisions. It’s here she’s unencumbered by the permanence of marriage and the threat of giving up her own space. That lesson lands like a thud, as Annie discusses her drunkness/living situation to a cop giving her a DUI. The specific situation Annie finds herself in is odd, but the circumstances Annie faces surrounding cohabitation are akin to the Odd Couple in a way that feels retread, rather than new. But it’s when Annie explicitly discusses her lesson learned that “Move Me’s” main plot has the air let out of it. It was the music-swelling portion of the episode and rang false for an actual issue in continuing relationships.

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Structurally, the rest of “Move Me” (written by Happy Endings vet Erik Sommers, who wrote “P & P Romance Factory” and “The Incident”) was layered quite nicely, with many of the minor characters having legitimate excuses to interact and discuss their issues, even if those discussions lead to unfortunate Botox. Like Annie, Gill retreats to a place that does not carry the dark mark of his relationship: the buffet where his former wife would never let him go. Gill as a character does not click for me. He doesn’t have much going for him beyond his overeating gag and I’m not buying his shtick just yet. The show is smart to balance in his inherently woeful state with an ego that does not stop him from telling others how to live their lives. Why they pay attention has yet to be established. Dennah takes C-plot status for “Move Me,” but it pays off when her full-on Botox face is revealed. Casey Wilson’s crowning achievement this episode is her reaction to her best friend’s face: “Hey girl, what are you doing in my ne— Ah, Bruce Jenner!”

Tymberlee Hill, who worked with Wilson on Hot Wives Of Orlando, has gotten the biggest retooling since the pilot. In the first episode, Kay was given little more to do than admit to peeing in Annie’s closet during her epic proposal meltdown. Thankfully, she’s outgrown the cartoonishness that defined her short time onscreen in favor of less incompetent Kay, delivering one of the best lines in the episode: “Especially when two of your friends are girls and the other is halfway through a food version of Leaving Las Vegas.” She’s not fully integrated into the ensemble in this episode, acting as more background player than sidekick, but I’m excited to see her drive her own storyline, which I couldn’t say for the character after watching the pilot. If the writers continue to reshape the show in Kay’s image—controlled and funny, yet a tad askew—then we’ll get more “Shoop”/”Soup” moments in the future.

Stray observations:

  • Bring back JoBeth Williams soon, please. I missed her in this episode.
  • I like that Annie and Jake have two karaoke machines.
  • I know it might be a tempting gag for the writers, but for the love of god, please don’t let Dennah and Gill get together. It will make me so very sad.
  • What’s the deal with Jake’s job? He got kind of fired in the first episode, and a steady income stream is probably necessary when planning and paying for a wedding.

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