Tuned In: TBS 'Wedding Band' not even a one-hit wonder
TBS's "Wedding Band" is a throwback.
First, it's airing at 10 p.m. Saturday, a wasteland for original programming on the broadcast networks (that would be ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox).
Second, the inspiration for "Wedding Band" would seem to be R-rated comedies such as "Wedding Crashers" and "The Hangover," movies that reached their height of popularity a few years back. These films succeeded because they were raunchy enough to entertain guys but contained just enough emotional heft (a romantic storyline woven in) to draw women, too.
"Wedding Band" is a little too sanitized for TV viewers' protection. Sure, there are a few, seemingly planted outrageous moments in each episode but they tend to be few and far between. "Wedding Band" wants to be an R-rated comedy but it has to settle for the PG-13 restrictions of prime time on a basic cable channel.
Not wild enough, not funny enough, "Wedding Band" comes off as merely OK entertainment.
Brian Austin Green ("Beverly Hills, 90210"), who tried to be a rapper back in the "90210" days, stars as Tommy, lead singer of Seattle wedding band Mother of the Bride. Tommy is "perma-single," which contrasts with guitar shredder Eddie (Peter Cambor, "NCIS: Los Angeles"), a husband and father of two who struggles to juggle his familial responsibilities with band gigs.
Eddie's brother, Barry (Derek Miller), plays drums and rigs a device that drops condoms when the band plays bar mitzvahs. Bassist Stevie (Harold Perrineau, "Lost") is the band's newest member.
Saturday's premiere episode, written by executive producer Darin Moiselle ("Special Unit 2"), introduces the characters but doesn't give them much depth. It wasn't until reading press notes that I learned about a few of the characters' established relationships and status in the band -- not a good sign.
The funniest dialogue comes from imperious event planner Roxie (Melora Hardin, "The Office"), who Tommy wants the band to work with more often. Roxie's exchanges with her assistant, Rachel (Jenny Wade, "The Good Guys"), give the premiere its biggest laugh lines.
"Looking at you Rachel is like looking at myself in the mirror," Roxie says, "only I don't like the necklace I'm wearing."
One of the outrageous gags in the episode centers on a damaged fake breast that Tommy attempts to repair, leading Roxie to exclaim: "You cannot twist it around like a balloon animal!"
But Roxie is merely a side dish; the bromance among the band members is the main course and it's not filling.
As for the show's placement on Saturday night, it appears that TBS sees an opportunity for series programming.
In recent years cable networks have been more willing to put original programming on Saturday, but usually they opt for cable movies, like those that air on Syfy, Hallmark and HBO.
TBS probably sees a market for a semi-raunchy comedy and there probably is room for such a show -- but "Wedding Band" seems unlikely to be the series to break through.
First Published November 4, 2012 12:00 am