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Imaginary Mary: Make Believe, Not War.

July 10, 2017

 

Imaginary Mary is the easily the most whimsical new sitcom on television. It's Alf for a new generation; the titular Mary (Rachel Dratch) being Alice's (Jenna Elfman) childhood imaginary friend, who reappears to help the now-PR exec with her new beau's children.

 

Dratch's voice and the adorable appearance of Mary carry the show. I haven't wanted to befriend a fictional character since Gizmo and Falcor were en vogue. It's hard to believe something CGI can be this stinkin' cute.

 

 

 

The concept, from the outside, may appear cobbled together and rushed, but a closer examination reveals a deeper, well-conceived plot. After all, Mary is Alice's subconscious, the part of her that raised herself. Her anxiety at the prospect of raising children sparks that aspect of her Self (capitalized for a reason) that understands children and on many levels is her maternal side, suppressed to make the pursuit of success at the cost of family all the more easy.

 

But there's an unfortunate other side to the show. The family needs a lot of work in terms of writing. The handsome boyfriend Ben is two-dimensional in a hamfisted way to make him perfect. He needs flaws to feel relatable.  The daughter is two dimensional, ranging between surly and full-blown SJW. The son is the over-saturated quasi-Jewish (not the good, Seinfeld kind. The bad, Mort from Family Guy kind), effeminate, manboy. Ever since Michael Cera knocked it out of the park on Arrested Development, studios have tried and failed miserably to recreate such a character. Each permutation gets more and more Woody Allen-esque...and Andy is the most extreme version of this.

 

 

Mind you, I'm not criticizing any of the acting. Better attention to character writing will save or damn this show. Regardless, it is worth watching, on television or Hulu. The show if funny, deeper in subtext than first imagined, and above all, cute.

 

 

 

 

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