Television

Unhitched

Kirsten Markson

Unhitched revels in the surrealist absurdity of dating, but can't make its central friendship ring true.

Unhitched

Airtime: Sundays, 9:30pm ET
Cast: Craig Bierko, Rashida Jones, Johnny Sneed, Shaun Majumder
MPAA rating: N/A
Subtitle: Series Premiere
Network: Fox
US release date: 2008-03-02
Website
Trailer
Amazon

Unhitched revels in the surrealist absurdity of dating, but can't make its central friendship ring true. evels in the surrealist absurdity of dating, but can't make its central friendship ring true. As its title implies, it focuses on four singles, reentering the dating pool after long-term relationships have failed. They appear to have little in common, except a penchant for bizarre dating situations that sometimes turn the corner to the truly gross. The show combines Seinfeld and a Farrelly brothers’ comedy, toned down for a network audience (and indeed, they are the show’s executive producers).

The types are predictable: only lothario Tommy (Johnny Sneed), already on his third divorce, seems to have any luck with the opposite sex. Straight man Gator (Craig Bierko) sensibly seeks love after his ex left him for a Cirque du Soleil performer. The first episode starts with a promisingly ridiculous incident in which Gator’s first date with an animal lover ends with a disastrous run-in with her amorous pet chimp, hilariously labeled “Bicurious George.” Problem is, this gag occurs within the series' first five minutes, and Unhitched doesn’t reach this bizarre peak again in the first two episodes.

It does, however, deliver more typical sitcom plots. Freddy (Shaun Majumder) and Kate (Rashida Jones) also end up on outlandish dates. Freddy, a doctor, is so feckless that it's a stretch to believe he made it through medical school. Like other sweet but clueless TV immigrants, from Apu to Cousin Balky, Freddy is naïve to the point of stupidity about American culture, and the portrayal borders on lazy racial stereotyping. Lonely after his divorce, Freddy spends most of the first episode on an extended dream date with a hired escort. The audience knows where this is going -- he is really falling for her and thinks she feels the same -- but the point is hammered home when an unfunny Johnny Knoxville shows up as her pimp, demanding exorbitant payment and threatening violence if Freddy doesn’t cough it up.

Kate is similarly humiliated in her romantic exploits, one involving a short man with a peculiar job. Jones' classy presence makes Kate's lack of romance luck hard to believe: why would she be forced to date a man who makes his living being thrown through basketball hoops before Celtics games?

It's hard to see why any of these unlucky daters is friends with the others. They revel in each other’s various embarrassments, but show little in the way of genuine connection to balance out the gross-out jokes and general silliness. Tommy likes to hit on underage girls and stand around in Gator’s house naked, but as he reveals no redeeming qualities, we have to wonder why Kate spends any time with him at all.

This is Unhitched’s fundamental problem. The comedy is ridiculous, but the four friends are most unbelievable. At once professionally successful (Gator is merging his finance business with a large company in Episode One) and yet completely naïve when it comes to their love lives, they are not only lonely, but also dim-witted. And if they're supposed to be invoking Seinfeld, the comparison can only be bad: their jokes are broad and awkward, without bite or cleverness.

The question is how long audiences will stick with a show that introduces nothing new to the oeuvre of neurotic small screen singletons. Their bits can be outrageous, including butt-shaving gags and that interspecies sexual encounter, but they might easily become tiresome too.

5

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

Music

Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.

Film

Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.

Music

Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Music

The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.

Music

Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.

Music

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.

Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.