So far, Annie and Jake have freaked out about getting engaged and living together—so it only makes sense that the latest Problem of the Week would be Annie’s fear that she’ll be a bad mom. But it’s too bad this potentially funny, painfully relatable paranoia was delivered in a Halloween-centric episode that failed to live up to the hilarious standards set by Marry Me‘s previous episodes.
Jake and Annie (and the actors who play them) are undoubtedly the show’s greatest strengths. They’re not a perfect couple, but they’re not a disastrous couple that invites outsiders to wonder, “How are they still together?” They’re just a couple. And that’s a great thing to have on TV: a relationship that’s not riddled with issues or an unrealistic picture of romantic bliss, but one that’s like one you might be in yourself. It doesn’t hurt that Casey Wilson and Ken Marino are such lovable and animated actors that watching them do just about anything is entertaining.
The problem though is that Marry Me isn’t all Jake and Annie all the time. Just like any other show, there are B- and C-plots—it’s just that in this show, at least right now, those plots aren’t anything special.
In this episode, Gil recruits Kay to go trick-or-treating with him, but it turns out he really just wants to spy on his ex-wife. We are well-aware of Gil’s divorce by this point: Last week, his storyline almost entirely took place at an all-you-can-eat buffet where he binged because that’s something he could do as an unmarried man. There’s not much more to Gil than his divorce—other than weird one-liners that are more likely to inspire eye rolls than laughs—but there’s no reason for us to even care about his divorce. We met him after it happened, and now all we hear about is how he’s happy he can gorge on pizza for 29 hours straight now that he doesn’t have a nagging wife. So why is he all of a sudden feeling the need to essentially stalk her and make sure she’s doing okay? (Also, he tackles Kay after she steals a bowl from his ex-wife—something he wanted Kay to do. Not cool, Gil. Not cool.)
Part of this annoyance with Gil is surely resentment, because most time spent with Gil is time spent away from Annie and Jake, who, in this episode, worked through some intense insecurities all while dressed as zombie versions of Ricky and Lucy. Seriously, how are we supposed to care about a strange man-child when that’s going on?
These insecurities all begin when Rude Neighbor Julie tells Annie she doesn’t have maternal instincts. This makes Annie mad, of course—and inspires her to turn her apartment into a haunted house as an act of rebellion against Julie, who said the building’s kids would be too scared of a haunted house. The kids aren’t scared though, and one child dressed as a robot even has so much fun that he hides away while all the other kids retreat back to their homes. Creepy? Yes. Perfect opportunity for Annie to prove she has maternal instincts after all? Duh.
The kid, as mentioned, is having a blast though, so he doesn’t want to leave his new grown-up BFFs—meaning he refuses to tell them where he actually lives. Jake and Annie get stressed (understandably as getting charged with kidnapping probably isn’t many people’s idea of a good Halloween), but Annie eventually gets him to fess up. It turns out Rude Neighbor Julie was wrong all along: Annie would make a terrific mom. (Okay, that’s debatable: Her tactic for getting the kid to talk was “withholding love” from him, so that might not breed the most emotionally healthy kids, but hey, whatever works.)
Unlike the previous two episodes though, this one wasn’t exactly filled to the brim with memorable lines and clever jokes. Sure, there were some—including the oh-so-appropriate Liam Neeson and Oprah references—but not enough to end the episode thinking, “Man, what a funny show!” Tonight’s episode was more, “Man, Casey Wilson and Ken Marino are great!” Which is true, and definitely a good thing—but also not enough to sustain a comedy.
“Two words: Haunted house. Two more words: You’re welcome. Two additional words: Standing ovation.” —Annie
“Candy is sweeter when you beg strangers for it.” —Kay
“I hope he doesn’t have any Liam Neeson types in his family.” —Jake
“You are just like Oprah. You don’t have any kids of your own, but you tell everyone what to do with theirs.” —Jake