Impressions: Marlon

Network
NBC
Release Date
August 16th, 2017
Episodes
S01E01 “Pilot”

Marlon Wayans, brother of Damon Wayans (My Wife and Kids), Shawn Wayans (White Chicks) and seemingly hundreds of other comedians, stars alongside Essence Atkins (Half & HalfAre We There Yet?) in a new family sitcom about an Internet Celebrity/Vlogger and his relationship with ex-wife, Ashley, and their kids Marley and Zack. Created by Waylan and Christopher Moynihan, the show is exactly as you would predict in terms of sitcom conventions and cliches.

Essence Atkins and Marlon Wayans in NB'c "Marlon"

We are introduced to Marlon and his family in this episode with everything laid out as quickly and obviously as possible. Marlon is a kooky (deranged) and unpredictable (reckless) father, whereas Ashley is sensible (boring) and sensitive (one-dimensional).

Marlon tries to interfere with Ashley’s date and makes a big scene alongside giving terrible and frankly, racist advice, to his children. We are also introduced to Ashley’s outspoken friend Yvette (Bresha Webb) who has it in for Marlon, and Marlon’s weird man-child roommate Stevie (Diallo Riddle). I wonder what’s going to happen there…

Diallo Riddle and Marlon Wayans in NBC's "Marlon"

It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t good. I might have smirked once or twice, and I did appreciate the attempt (however overstated) to modernise things with cuts to Marlon’s web series, but there was nothing new about this show on the whole.

I got the sense that the creators thought they were being clever with the ex-spouse dynamic, but having Marlon and Ashley be friends somehow made things even less interesting. The kids might have been named “the cheeky one” and “the nerdy one” and saved someone a job.

If you’re drawn to sitcoms with clever lines like Friends, or a unique format like How I Met Your Mother, or featuring a family you can really get behind like in Home Improvement (all contentious references, I know!) then this series probably isn’t for you.

But if what you like about sitcoms are the predictable, trashy slapstick laughs and overdone, formulaic storylines, then you’ll probably be all about Marlon. I wasn’t.

 

Matty Reeves on Email
Matty Reeves
Writer

Matty has always loved all kinds of TV shows, but formally began her binging career while pretending to read books throughout university. She hasn’t published her writing before now, but has always enjoyed arguing with friends (and strangers) about quality programming.