Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Pilot Review: Imaginary Mary

Imaginary Mary (ABC)
Premiered March 29 at 8:30pm

There are some concepts that should never have made it to air. The most egregious one that I can think of off the top of my head is “Cavemen,” an expansion of a humorous commercial that ended up being a horrendous, symbolically racist half-hour series that lasted all too long by existing for even a moment. Jenna Elfman had a successful run as the star of “Dharma and Greg” from 1997 to 2002, and since then, she has headlined four short-lived sitcoms, all of which were poorly-reviewed and remembered by just about no one. I personally thought she was pretty good on “Damages” in season five, and I’ve enjoyed her appearances in some movies, like “Keeping the Faith.” What’s imminently clear is that network executives just don’t know what to do with her, and casting her in shows with fanciful, theoretically creative premises just isn’t working. Why anyone thought this was a good idea is beyond me, since the sight of whatever Mary is supposed to be doesn’t conjure up anything remotely mature, but this definitely isn’t meant to be a comedy for kids. It’s apparently a loose remake of the 1991 film “Drop Dead Fred,” which itself wasn’t all that well-received. Rachel Dratch is another comedienne who is sometimes hard to place correctly, and I imagine she won’t be putting this at the top of her resume. I realized that I recognize Stephen Schneider, who plays the irritating Ben, from his role as the dependably unreliable Ty on “You’re the Worst,” and I don’t find him very appealing here. There’s simply nothing to like about this show, and plenty to find stupid and obnoxious.

How will it work as a series? I can’t imagine it’s going to produce too many episodes, but I guess Mary is going to appear every time Alice starts to do something questionable or something that may make Mary not need to stick around. I’d be happier if she just decided that Mary could be erased from existence, but I think Alice and the other characters aren’t all that much better.
How long will it last? The reviews are expectedly poor, and the ratings weren’t all that much better, though they’re not bad enough to doom this show to immediate cancellation. ABC has a handful of successful shows on the air that continue to bring in viewers, so I can’t imagine there will be many fighting to keep this show alive. I predict that it will be pulled before all of its filmed episodes air.

Pilot grade: F-

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