Weird Loners on Fox “…we are all weird loners, in that nobody really can exist in a relationship easily and effortlessly.” Michael J. Weithorn
By Valerie Milano
Pasadena, CA (The Hollywood Times) 4/1/15 – FOX premiered its new half hour sit-com Weird Loners on Tuesday night in the 09:30 time slot. All things considered, Weird Loners exceeded low expectations and revealed itself to be an amusing, kind hearted amalgam of The Big Bang Theory (hot blond neighbor, mismatched roomies), Friends (New Yawk thirty something’s form a tight, neurotic clan in the cold, cold city) with a pinch of Seinfeld for flavoring.
The concept is fairly simple, hardly original, yet rich with comedy potential. Four relationship challenged loners group up in a Queens Townhouse. They stumble into each other’s lives and become BFF’s in one neat half hour episode. Yeah, I know, things don’t really happen that way in the ‘big shitty”, but who does it hurt to keep that sort of optimism alive in this impersonal age we live in?
After an opening credits montage introduces us to our heroes, we are clued in to the circumstances that spun them into each other’s orbit. Eric (Nate Torrence) is a man-child who just lost his dad and inherited the family townhome. Eric is several fluid ounces short of a quart and has a passion for sock puppets. Eric’s pussy-hound cousin, Stosh (Zachary Knighton) managed to flush a lucrative career by seducing his boss’s fiancé’. When Stosh realizes he has also lost his corporate housing, he reconnects with his cousin Eric at his dad’s funeral and a pact is struck for Stosh to move in. Living in the townhouse next door is firecracker blonde Caryn (Becki Newton). Stosh drops by to fix an unruly smoke detector and starts generating his own type of heat with Caryn who is grudgingly engaged to a ‘nerdy but nice’ Jewish man. Rounding out the foursome is Zara (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) who is an exotic brunette, a visual artist, and has just dumped an adoring, heartbroken older man.
Don’t expect too much from Weird Loners out of the box. The time slot is a bugger and there’s no star power or slumming Oscar winners to light the way. However, where there’s good comic acting and good writing, there is hope. Weird Loners shows promise, poise and some un-sanded edges as well. Weird Loners will have to earn its spurs all by its lonesome.
The HollywoodTimes.net, the TCA and other had the opportunity to speak with Melvin Mar, executive producer and director Jake Kasdan, creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn, and actors Becki Newton, Zachary Knighton, Nate Torrence, Meera Rohit Kumbhani.
Michael J. Weithorn talked about the origin and premise of Weird Loners, MICHAEL J. WEITHORN: “Well, the whole origin of WEIRD LONERS was from that axiom that all writers are taught, which is – write what you know. And the whole point is that the title is ironic, that they are weird loners, that we are all weird loners, that nobody really can exist in a relationship easily and effortlessly, Moreover, a happy relationship is one in which you don’t fantasize about being single more than 49 percent of the time, and then you’re really solid, so that we’re all fighting the struggle of how to deal with being in relationships, these people to an extreme degree.”
Weithorn went on to talk about character development, MICHAEL J. WEITHORN: “As far as the four characters, I basically just kind of divided my psyche into quadrants and took all of the four ways in which I personally am damaged and made one character here. But these four great actors have brought them to life. And working with Jake and Melvin in enhancing these ideas and bring them to life on the screen, so it’s gone way beyond my original conception. They’ve interpreted these characters in wonderful ways, and so it exists in this nascent form at this point.”
NATE TORRENCE: You know what, as an actor I feel like of the roles that have been presented to me, I kind of take that pretty seriously and I want to give it a human twist to it, that it is relatable. And with Eric specifically, it’s like it was on the page too in the pilot. This is why I was so attracted to it, is his dad dies. And I think that that is so to find someone who was relying so much on that relationship and to now be alone is a crazy thing, and I think it’s exciting to get the chance to try to play that and try to make that human, in the midst of the being goofy, in the midst of trying to play off all of these things. I always try to play that my characters don’t know that they’re weird. To everyone else, he’s normal and he doesn’t pick up on that and even maybe a deeper level is he does pick up on it and doesn’t care. That’s what I like about Eric, is I do believe he’s always trying to ignore maybe how people think of him and look at him.
Actress Becki Newton came to the show interesting happenstance, BECKI NEWTON: “I actually I sought the show out. I don’t even know if you know this, Michael. I had a friend who was auditioning for the part of Zara and she asked me to go over her audition sides with her, and I read with her and I said, “What show is this? Who wrote it?” and sought the script from there and just fell in love with it. There’s something so unique about the voice, so messy about all the characters but yet still so loveable. So I fell in love with the show before it was even on the table for me.”
Wiethorn summarized both the premise of Weird Loners and the characters succinctly, MICHAEL J. WEITHORN: “The point of the show, I guess, in a certain way is it is embodied by that one idea, which is that being a ‘weird loner’ is really an inner state and not an outer state for people, and so you can be very attractive but still just not have those tools to be able to do what everyone else seems to be doing; but in reality, is struggling with in most cases.”