2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

TV Review – FX’s “Married”

Published: July 15, 2014, 3:17 pm, by Terry Terrones

married

“Married

Cast: Nat Faxon (“Ben and Kate,” “Bad Teacher”), Judy Greer (“Archer,” “Arrested Development”), Brett Gelman (Funny or Die, Upright Citizens Brigade), Jenny Slate (“Saturday Night Live,” “Obvious Child”), John Hodgman (“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”)

Air-date, time: The premiere episode airs at 8 p.m. Thursday on FX

The premise:“Married” is a half hour comedy about a couple that deals with all the ups and downs of marriage, from kids to debt to life in suburbia. While they have plenty of turmoil in their lives, however, Russ (Faxon) and Lina (Greer) are still in love. Always around to lend a hand are Russ and Lina’s friends AJ (Gelman), who is recently divorced and pretending he’s over his wife, and Jess (Slate), who is married to a much older man (comedian Paul Reiser) who can’t keep up with her.

Married” can be racy and is rated TV-MA. Don’t let the promos for it fool you into thinking this is a show you can watch with your children. This program is for adults only. You’ll find that out 30 seconds into the pilot.

Highs: There’s a lot that middle-aged married viewers with kids can relate to in “Married.” So many of the things that couples struggle with – money, intimacy, friends, kids, work, life and career goals, pets – get addressed on the show, but because all of the characters are immature and irresponsible, you see a humorous side to it. When one of the pre-teen daughters in “Married” asks her dad, “Everything gets easier when you’re a grown up, right?” the irony isn’t lost on the viewer.

“Married” is on the same cable channel as “Louie” for a reason – its humor can be painfully earnest. This show has the kind of comedy that requires actors to be both funny and dramatic. Thankfully the cast is balanced and executes the show’s comedic intent perfectly. Judy Greer, as expected, is excellent as Lina. As a housewife raising three daughters and lives with a goober of a husband, her character could have easily been a clichéd whiner but Greer conveys both depth and humor. Nat Faxon (aka Less Neebish Ed Helms) is a perfect compliment as Greer’s husband Russ. As a man close to his age with a wife and kids myself, I could relate to his character’s plight and the jocularity with which he approaches his never-ending tribulations.

There are also several solid secondary characters. Comedic It Girl Jenny Slate, Brett Gelman and John Hodgman are the couples’ goofy, off kilter and troubled friends. They’re all loyal to each other but make poor decisions that are fun to watch unfold.

Lows: “Married” is made for a very specific audience. If you’re not 35-45 and married with children, chances are this show doesn’t have much to offer. To be sure, there might be some jokes or situations any person might find funny in “Married,” but for the most part the humor in the show is directed at a niche clientele.

“Married” can also have moments where its comedic sensibility is a little too earnest. When a joke hits too close to home without anything being said to lighten the mood, it’s a downer. “Married” has a few moments, especially in the second episode, where it can be a bit depressing. Thankfully that doesn’t happen too often.

Grade: (B): While it takes a few episodes to find its footing, “Married” hits enough comedic marks to make for an entertaining series. If you like your comedy with a sense of realism and can find humor in what seems to be helpless situations, this show might just be for you.