Weird Loners is a tough sell, and though it could become a hit, it has a massive uphill battle in front of it. The main problem, ratings-wise, is that it has too much in common with all the shows that didn’t work for its stars in the past.
Of course, that’s only if you’re looking for ratings.
The shows in question, Zachary Knighton‘s Happy Endings, and Becki Newton‘s The Goodwin Games, were actually great shows, but Weird Loners has a tone, and general style of comedy, that is something of a cross between those shows, and that’s a ratings nightmare.
Worse, the pilot is somewhat nonsensical, having to put forward our establishing excuse that the four main characters get together. It has its moments, but it has to try so hard to force these people together, that it has little time to let them charm us. Knighton and Newton get the best of it, and they’re both great in general, but it is a struggle to make it through the show’s first episode. In today’s network-heavy world, and without a massive marketing push, that could mean that too many people aren’t going to give it a chance. You almost wish the show would put serious bravery to the test, and just skip the pilot altogether and run.
The idea of the show is to analyze “relationship misfits,” and, apparently, see what life lessons can be gleaned from putting them under the microscope.
Stosh (Knighton) and Eric (Nate Torrence) are cousins, who end up living together when Stosh loses his job, and company-owned apartment. Stosh is a weird loner because he isn’t interested in relationships, and keeps sleeping with people’s wives and girlfriends. Eric is a weird loner, but in a very different sense. He’s hardly left his father’s side for years, and he isn’t exactly the brightest crayon in the box.
Caryn (Newton) is Eric’s neighbor, and she has a lot in common with Stosh in terms of her weird loner status. She keeps picking the wrong kind of guy… and they look a lot like Stosh. When Eric accidentally picks up Zara (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) as she sells her art in a park, the quartet is complete.
Ultimately, there’s a lot of potential, most of it coming purely from the ability of the actors involved, and if the show can move beyond the gimmick it could manage some success. But, the show may have painted itself into a corner there, because while the show is fun, there isn’t a lot of room to maneuver. The gag itself can only go on so long, and you have to hope we’re all moving toward not being weird loners anymore, but then what will we do with them?
The hope is that we’ll just want to follow along, but the situation doesn’t create a great jump to the overall scenario. The second episodes “channeling” gag, for example, doesn’t seem to play out as well in reality as it might have sitting around the writer’s room, and goes on for the entire episode.
It’s a show that could get somewhere, but it needs to shift gears faster than it seems to want to, and it needs to either add a dose of depth to the characters, or a lot more humor.
In a world full of happy couples, there are those who just can’t seem to figure it out…
WEIRD LONERS is a new single-camera comedy about four relationship-challenged mid-30-somethings who are unexpectedly thrust into one another’s lives, forming unlikely bonds in a Queens, NY, townhouse.
Starring Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”), Zachary Knighton (“Happy Endings”), Nate Torrence (“Hello Ladies”) and newcomer Meera Rohit Kumbhani, the series explores the lives of these underdogs who, each for his/her own distinct reasons, are solo singles when most of their peers are well along the path of marriage and family.
As the members of this off-kilter quartet get to know each other, they’ll face an endless array of riotous – and likely uncomfortable – circumstances, ranging from a reunion with an estranged pre-teen son, to confusion about same-sex dating, to scheming the art world to make a quick buck.
WEIRD LONERS is a show for all those who have at some point felt scared, lost, lonely and overwhelmed in the world of love and relationships. Namely, everyone.