Hark! Do you hear the calling of Poseidon’s conch summoning our people to attention? It is to celebrate the birth of a new queer character on network television! Cue the parade of dolphins!
The show is Weird Loners on FOX and the queer in question is Zara Sandhu (Meera Rohit Kumbhani), a free-spirited bisexual street artist. She breaks hearts, smokes pot, and doesn’t give a shit what people think of her. FINALLY someone I can relate to! And if that doesn’t get you excited, out comic Becky Drysdale is a writer on the show.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The pilot opens with pictures of our four main characters in fourth grade, then speeds ahead to show us where they are at in life.
First, we meet Caryn (Becki Newton) an uptight dental hygienist who is berating her date for his lack of commitment and attention. It seems like the typical straight girl diatribe, until we discover that she’s barely known the guy a week. Zara may be the resident queer, but Caryn is already showing signs of classic lez behavior.
We then meet Stosh (Zachary Knighton) a douche-y bro sales rep who is getting fired for banging his boss’s fiancée. Stosh is a serial womanizer who can’t settle down.
Then we meet Zara, who tells her boyfriend that she’s going out for breakfast…with all her belongings. When he busts her for walking out, she tells him she just isn’t feeling it anymore. While her boyfriend demands to know why his girlfriend is so mercurial, she just gives him a shrug. I mean, she was gonna send him a muffin basket, right?
The final member of the quartet is Eric (Nate Torrence) a sad sack who watches baseball with his dad. In the middle of a play, dad keels over and dies.
Now that we’ve met our main players, the episode jumps to Caryn’s taxi home from the singles cruise. Her mother tells her she’s running out of time, and that she should just accept the marriage proposal from Howard. She thinks that, at 37, Caryn is running out of time. Caryn arrives home, where we see that she is neighbors with Eric, who she knows as “sock puppet guy.” Caryn offers condolences for his dad, before she walks into her brownstone to find it totally wrecked.
Her young roommate Molly has thrown a rager, and Caryn sees a pair of naked guy twins running out in her underwear before she decides she is officially too old for this shit. Later at work, Caryn invites Howard over for an engagement dinner and takes a hit of nitrous while he sends her a million emojis.
It’s the day of Eric’s dad’s funeral, and the only person to show up is Eric’s cousin, Stosh. Stosh offers to move in with Eric to help him deal, and Eric immediately accepts, not realizing that Stosh has nowhere else to go. Stosh gets creeped out by the old person vibe of the apartment (Hummel figurines, plastic on the sofa) and sends Eric to get some fresh air and some new art.
Eric runs into Zara selling her disturbing and enormous paintings on street and immediately buys one. Zara takes pity on Eric when she sees him blown around in the wind like a sad little dinghy, and offers him a ride home to Queens.
Meanwhile, Caryn is working on her engagement dinner, but everything is going wrong. Stosh hears her fire alarm going off and goes next door to investigate. Caryn and Stosh meet cute, and there’s instant chemistry. Next door, Eric is playing the mandolin for Zara.
Stosh turns out to be quite the cook, and he helps Caryn salvage the meal. Caryn tells Stosh that Howard is a widower dermatologist with children. Sure, he’s not Ryan Gosling, but she’s running out of options. When she asks Stosh who the female equivalent of Gosling is, I shout “Scarlett Johansson” at the TV the same time Stosh says it. Stosh starts rubbing Caryn’s back and kissing her neck, and she is into it…until Howard (David Wain) shows up, wondering why this douche is macking on his fiancée.
Stosh quickly tells Howard that the dinner is actually an engagement party, and he’s a member of Caryn’s book club. Cut to the whole gang eating an awkward dinner together.
The party is awkward as all hell. We find out that Howard’s kids are a nightmare, and Zara and Eric high five over their shared love of masturbation. Caryn drags Stosh into the kitchen and demands that he stop fucking up her engagement dinner. He tells her that she’s lying to herself and can’t settle for Howard. Meanwhile, Eric is doing a sock puppet show about the ill-fated affair between Marilyn Monroe and JFK. This might have been my favorite part of the whole episode.
Caryn dumps Howard, who leaves upset. He had hoped that just loving her would be enough, but he doesn’t realize that no comedy pilot starts with a successful love match.
The loners follow Caryn as she storms out of the apartment, They sit on a park bench and watch a wedding take place, wondering why they are all such weird loners. They start lip reading and filling in the vows themselves. The episode ends with the gang crashing the wedding and partying together. Zara moves in with Caryn and the loners wander off into the night.
I really liked this pilot: the actors have good chemistry, the dialogue is witty, and the episode has a nice, laid-back New Girl-style vibe to it. I mean, we now have two comedies on Tuesday night with queer characters! What a world, you guys. What a world.