Sunday, August 20, 2017

Pilot Review: Marlon

Marlon (NBC)
Premiered August 16 at 9pm

It’s never a great sign when a show premieres in the middle of August on a non-cable network since it easily could have been held for a few weeks later when other fall sitcoms start. But I guess NBC wanted to get Marlon out early, and this show is more than capable of speaking for itself. It’s certainly true that Marlon is obnoxious, and so is this show, but you can’t say that he’s not committed. This is a familiar premise in many ways, with a goofball dad who gets along great with his kids and can’t move past his ex, who finds him endearing enough to keep him around even though she’s no longer interested in any romance. There are typical clichés, like Marlon and Ashley’s best friends, who are each screw-ups in their own ways. The theme song, which basically just consists of Marlon’s name said quickly over and over again, is irritating, to be sure, and this show’s web show subplot is only referenced occasionally and not very consistently. Wayans takes the spotlight here, having a blast embracing his strengths and acting crazy whenever he damn well feels like it. The plotlines, like him being a hoarder and needing an intervention, and him spying on Ashley’s date when a very handsome gentleman comes to pick her up, are far from original, but this show isn’t nearly as bad as it could be. I enjoyed the repeated mentions of Steve’s terrible predictions about the future, none of which panned out and all of which were superbly contradicted by what actually ended up happening. Will I watch this show again? No. Were these two half-hours better than I thought? A little bit.

How will it work as a series? This is a traditional sitcom, so every episode is going to find Marlon facing – or fabricating – some challenge that he needs to address and possibly overcome. I’m sure there’s a wealth of material to be milked and plenty of characters to play off and interact with on an episodic basis.
How long will it last? Well, this show could actually be around for a while. Without other competition, this show scored what’s being reported as the second best summer comedy broadcast network debut in a decade. The reviews aren’t as bad as they could be – just like the show – so I’d expect that this show will be renewed soon.

Pilot grade: C+

No comments: