Annie and boyfriend Jake (Ken Marino, “Party Down”) return home after a trip to commemorate their six years together with Annie expecting a marriage proposal before the trip’s end. When it doesn’t appear it will happen, she goes into a comic tirade that ends with a terrific payoff that continues to pay dividends throughout the episode.
“Marry Me” may provoke some viewers to question gender equality in comedy – it’s legit to wonder, why does the woman always have to be the crazy one? – but one TV comedy can’t answer for all shows. Taken on its own, “Marry Me” offers a fast-moving, often hilarious debut episode that traffics in pop culture references as it establishes Annie as the loon and Jake as the tolerant, abiding guy who loves her.
“For some reason I just always explode my life,” Annie says to Jake. “That is why I need you. Without you, I would spin off into space like Sandra Bullock in ‘Gravity.’ You keep me grounded like Sandra Bullock in real life.”
There may not be much to distinguish Annie from Penny but Ms. Wilson is so gleefully game to throw herself into playing these neurotic characters that it may not matter. Her energy and dedication to playing the fool make both roles fun to watch. And Mr. Marino manages to play the straight man without being overwhelmed by Ms. Wilson, a feat in and of itself.
“Marry Me” is created by writer David Caspe, whose previous series was – you guessed it – “Happy Endings,” which is where he met Ms. Wilson, who is now his wife. It’s fair to assume “Marry Me” is at least a little bit inspired by their courtship.
The “Marry Me” pilot also introduces friends and family members who orbit around Annie and Jake and though they don’t get much screen time in the premiere, several seem funny in their own right and they’ll be necessary as the show grows. Over time, a little bit of Annie – Jake calls her “my crazy little maniac” -- may go a long way and it will be helpful to have additional characters who can help carry the plots.