After being pleasantly surprised by the pilot of TBS' new single-camera comedy 'Wedding Band,' I was even more impressed by their follow-up, giving it my highest rating to date here on TVRage (first ever A grade!).
So how does the third episode fare? Well the quality is still high and the character development of the weaker characters (Barry and Rachel) continues in earnest. But the best part of the third episode, "Don't You Forget About Me," is that after three visits with these characters we can now begin to recognize some running gags that were delivered with subtlety in the last offerings, which are now beginning to blossom.
Take, for instance, Eddie (Peter Cambor) and his marriage to Ingrid (Kathryn Fiore). They have two beautiful children, a girl (aged six) and a boy (aged four); Ingrid wants Eddie to be a full-time father and leave his band-aspirations in the rear-view, but of course she doesn't pressure him. Eddie wants to please his beautiful wife, so more often than not he finds himself lying to her about the shenanigans the band has gotten up to that week. The icing on the cake of this classic sitcom trope? Ingrid is a detective. Literally.
Eddie is a horrible liar and, one way or the other, Ingrid manages to catch her husband in his lie by the end of the episode--in "I Love College," he was caught doing a keg-stand, whereas in "Don't You Forget About Me" he was caught in a strip club VIP room. The first couple of times was a coincidence; after three, the Ingrid-moment at the end of the episode is something you wait for, causing a guffaw and an "Of COURSE she'd show up!" moment while watching.
In "Don't You Forget About Me" the band members are playing for a friend's bachelor party: the man who is marrying Rachel (Jenny Wade), their sometimes-boss and Tommy's sometimes-flirtation partner. The crux of the plot follows Eddie and Tommy as they deal with Eddie's children, trying to balance parental responsibilities with immature bachelor party antics, and a side-plot with Barry and Stevie as they confess and explore their other band-desires and needs that are not being fulfilled by Mother of the Bride (the name of our beloved quartet).
The scenes with Barry and Stevie not only explore the two characters in greater depth than we've seen, they supply the laughs. The way the pair talk about bands and making music is purposefully reminiscent of sex and romantic relationships. "We could have a quickie, right now!" says Barry, trying to coax Stevie into jamming on their lesser-known instruments, the glockenspiel and the cello. After Barry enjoys the experience, he comes on a little strong, suggesting they make it a full-time side-project. "I've got a lot going on right now..." Stevie begs, like a lover trying to extricate themselves from romantic entanglement. Barry admits that he's coming on too strong and the pair should "take it slow" and "see what happens." The scene really clicks and it's the first memorable moment on the show that didn't involve Tommy (Brian Austin Green) nor Eddie (Cambor). Not to mention the fact that another running gag was built upon in this scene, with the third subtle hint that Barry may be a virgin.
Meanwhile, across town, Tommy learns the hard lessons about taking care of children when Eddie needs to get the kids to two separate birhday parties at the same time. "Okay, I'll take the bigger one" says Tommy, earning himself an afternoon with six-year-old Janey. Tommy of course bribes Janey with gifts so that she'll come with him to the golf course with the guys, where he promptly strikes and kills a duck with his golf ball. This leads to a string of questions from Janey: "What's dead mean?" followed by "What's heaven?" and "What's religion" as Tommy digs himself ever-deeper. The scene works because the child actor who plays Janey is pitch-perfect, letting Green play for laughs as the scene progresses.
All the while, Tommy is being harassed by Rachel via telephone, as she is nervous that her fiance Adam might get into trouble at the bachelor party later on. This serves little purpose other than to further develop the budding interest Tommy has in his taken friend Rachel, making him more sympathetic than most womanizer-characters as a whole.
All in all, there is so much going on in 'Wedding Band' each episode that it is difficult to summarize. The writing team is clearly having a ball working on this show and that excitement and zeal carries over into their scenes. After all of the plot exposition I've mentioned above, I never even got to the part where Eddie's children are looked after by a rotating team of strippers for the rest of the night. A set-up like that would be the best part of some comedies, whereas here it is just another in a string of hilarious moments.
After three episodes, I am entirely convinced: 'Wedding Band' is a good show and the funniest new comedy of the season. Check it out.
FINAL GRADE: A-