Three episodes of the first season of “Weird Loners” were provided for review purposes prior to broadcast.
There are a solid two minutes of charm and humour in the pilot of Weird Loners, a generic sitcom stuck in outdated sensibility and lacking in likeability.
In this rare occurrence, our four titular so-called weird loners, after a serendipitous day in which their problematic paths crossed, are watching a wedding from a far reading the lips of the bride, groom, and priest. They insert their own hysterical dialogue, and for a brief splendid moment, you forget the odd conceit of the show and its completely misguided attempts at humour.
This half-hour, single-camera comedy from Fox struggles off the bat with the appropriation of the word ‘weird.’ It’s troubling, and the show never is able to reconcile its various attempts at meaning and conflicting social commentary.
See, apparently these four figures are ‘weird’ because they are single. Not only single, but single in their thirties. That is, there is something about them that makes them single: something weird. Our heroine is Caryn (Becki Newton), a woman pressured by family and friends to be into a relationship so much that she squeezes too hard and pushes too much when she meets someone. Caryn does have one man though, a nebbish, bespectacled bore of a man who is in fact her fiancé – she just doesn’t want to go through with it.
This all comes as a surprise to the other leading loner, Stosh (Zachary Knighton), because Caryn is so blonde and beautiful that it’s remarkable she doesn’t have whoever she wants. Stosh’s hindrance, as evidenced by that line of thinking, is that he’s a complete and utter sexist pig. I’m not sure if there is a direct correlation between being ‘weird’ and sleeping with your coworkers and drugging them and hooking up with married people and then getting fired, but Weird Loners is trying to make one.
Of course, that doesn’t stop him from immediately hitting on her and indeed touching and kissing Caryn when they first meet in her kitchen. Because, not only is that irresistibly charming, but totally not offensive or uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, he is supposed to be our likeable yet flawed leading man who will be aided in turning his life around by a merry band of misfits. This character is supposed to be some poor man’s Jeff Winger, a charming moocher who gets what he wants. But our first impressions make Stosh appear not as some affectionate ne’er do well, but as someone effectively abusive and irredeemable. Try as you might, there is nothing funny about a man forcing himself on a woman in her home, however much we know that this is a middling, mainstream network comedy show where nothing bad happens.