“Win Me” was an episode chock full of ideas and threads that never fully coalesced. But for the first time since the pilot, Marry Me felt like it had a purpose beyond “Look how funny these people can be.” Annie has been the most fleshed-out character since the pilot, but “Win Me” gave a sense of where she came from. As the two Kevins become more of an integral mechanism to the show, they are also becoming separate entities, their relationship reflected in their child’s own romantic life (they always say you marry your father and Annie got to decide between two). It makes Annie’s intense desire to get married a little more palatable, if only because it’s not so much a reflection on her gender, so much as a reflection on her dad, who always hoped that his parents would mistake his intense love for wedding magazines for a drug problem.
The father-daughter bride war is instigated by the appearance of Cousin Scooby, a concert cruise ship operator who is the life of the party (in stark contrast to Nat Faxon’s turn on Trophy Wife as Sad Steve. R.I.P. Trophy Wife and, by extension, Sad Steve). But Scooby’s inclusion is a complicated mechanism to get to the same conclusion that was established before Scooby even shows up: Dan Bucatinsky’s Kevin won’t compete with Annie when it comes to wedding-related matters. He’ll defer to his daughter. It’s a sweet father-daughter scene, and Bucatinsky and Casey Wilson have wonderful chemistry (“Who else can say they got in a bride war with their dad?” “I love that about us.”). But their conflict was set with the discussion of their shared love of royal bouquets and bird cages. Scooby is the classic MacGuffin. His attendance at their wedding is desired by both Annie and her dad, but he doesn’t really do anything. As evidenced by the the bouquet and the bird cages, Scooby could be really anything that they both want. As a Faxon fan, I wish Scooby would have done more than espouse the benefits of full-length pants (“It’s been so long since I’ve had fabric below my knees”), especially because of how fun the prospect of Spanish karaoke looked.
Scooby is exemplary of one of Marry Me’s continued problems: Nothing serves a purpose beyond the joke set up. But in terms of the show in the long haul, it’s good to see plots bleeding over from one episode to another. It shows that the show is maturing, even if it’s only in giving up a small piece of it’s episodic nature in order to build a world. It’s a small step, but it’s a positive one.
Kay, Dennah and Gil’s plot felt like missed opportunity. There were a lot of ideas going on here: Gil is in a state of arrested development, whereas his friends are moving forward with their lives (something we can only assume about Dennah and Kay considering that the most we know about the former is that she dates and the most we know about the latter is that she is a lesbian). There’s also the Law & Order plot device, which could have gone somewhere if it weren’t competing for attention with the larger A-plot and Gil’s own friendship with sixth graders. (Not to mention that there is no way in hell two grown people have never been sucked into a Law & Order marathon before. C’mon, do they not have TNT?)
But I will give credit where it is due: At least Kay and Dennah got to do something beside act as a conduit for one-liners during their scenes. Please, for the love of all that is funny, give these women something of substance to do. Give them a plot that does not involve highlighting Annie or acting in the service in Gil, because Gil is still not connecting with me. Gil’s sad sack nature has been a prevailing theme as of late, but the sad clown aspect of his character is not hitting home. Gil is down in the dumps, but willfully ignores his own patheticness. I don’t empathize or feel sorry for him. There’s nothing deeper there. He’s just the clown and he’s not fully connecting there either.
- Aw, you guys, I miss Ben and Kate.
- “Competing with your own daughter is not a good look for him. It’s worse than the time he got a perm.” I included this reference because I would like to see a picture of Dan Bucatinsky with a perm.