Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wedding Band

WEDDING BAND (Saturdays on TBS)

Seldom am I just pleasantly surprised by a television program.  I am often disappointed that a new show on TV is much worse than I expected but it is not very often a show exceeds my expectations.  My wife convinced me to give this new show a try and I finally displayed the good sense to listen to her and I gave Wedding Band a try.  My expectations were very low and I was in for one of those rare pleasant surprises.

Wedding Band will never win any cool, gold prizes but it matters not.  This program is funny without being mean.  At times, it is silly but it doesn’t fall into stupid or idiotic.  It is a fun, carefree program which never tries to be more than what it is.

The premise is a simple one.  Four friends have a wedding band called “Mother of the Bride”.  They are scratching out an existence playing gigs at cheap hotels.  They lucked out when an old girlfriend talks her corporate event planner into hiring “Mother of the Bride” for the ex-girlfriends wedding and they become the planner’s go to band.  There is no rocket science here - just fun and laughs.

The hi-jinks are good natured and the characters are likeable.  The laughs are fast and smart.  The dialogue isn’t dumbed down here.  The actors are having a blast and it shows in every scene.  Some of the scenarios developed through the weekly plots verge on the silly but somehow the program never sinks into the easy, cheap jokes lesser television shows rely on.  It would be quick and easy for Wedding Band to sink the icky level so many sit coms have relied on in the past but this show likes to use actual wit and intelligence to harvest the laughs.  I find myself laughing out loud several times each episode.

And this isn’t just a sit com.  It is an hour long and while it is seldom serious, the characters are good hearted and always end up helping someone with something.  No, it is not deep thinking.  As the title would hint at, music plays a big part but not so much that is it just about the music.  The band knows just about every song in the history of music and is willing to perform in tune with whatever the theme of any particular event may have.  As with the rest of the program, the music is upbeat and boisterous with plenty of sing along moments – like playing “Don’t You Forget About Me” at a funeral.  That’s good stuff.

The cast is terrific, led by 90210 vet Brian Austin Green (has trouble pulling off ballads but is good on the up tempo stuff – the producers seem to be aware of this), Harold Perrineau (Lost and Sons of Anarchy), Peter Cambor (NCIS:LA), the hilarious Melora Hardin (The Office and Monk), and Jenny Wade (personal favorite The Good Guys and Reaper).  The cast has great chemistry and are obviously having a great time.  The guys in the band are believable and you never doubt they love what they do.  There is a great mix of background for the characters and their personal lives provide plenty of fodder for show plots without grinding out the same old situations we’ve seen a thousand times. 

As I mentioned earlier, Wedding Band is not any great Shakespearean work of art that will dominate any award show but it is good enough, and smart enough to be more than a guilty pleasure.  I highly recommend giving this program a look.  It is on TBS so you should be able to watch all episodes On Demand on most cable carriers.  The first episode is simply called “Pilot” and all the rest have song titles as episode titles.  I must warn everyone that some of the comedy is adult comedy and there is a tad bit of language, so it is not appropriate for all ages.  Watch and enjoy.

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