The Party of "Wedding Band" Ended Too Soon Review

A weak few first episodes for a TV show can often be enough to kill it even if it manages to substantially improve three to four episodes in, and that's exactly what happened to Wedding Band. Admittedly based on something of a gimmick of a premise with each episode seeing the titular group (Brian Austin Green, Peter Cambor, Derek Miller, Harold Perrineau) play a random event covering hit songs in creative and eclectic fashion, Wedding Band evolved into something with genuine comedy potential fairly quickly. As supporting cast Melora Hardin (from US's The Office) and Jenny Wade gradually began to play bigger parts in the episodes, the exchanges between the six protagonists began to really take off. It's sad, but Wedding Band was a punchy comedy with a great cast that lost its viewers before it could prove it deserved another season.

Eternal bachelor Tommy (Green), married man Eddie (Cambor), irrepressible good Barry (Miller), and ridiculously overqualified Stevie (Perrineau) have been struggling to get their cover band Mother of the Bride off the ground for years by playing second-rate venues for low-budget events. They finally get their big break when big-time event planner Roxie Rutherford (Hardin) takes notice of them and makes them her new go-to group for all sorts of shindigs, and she leaves their management in the hands of her capable but undervalued assistant Rachel (Wade). Each episode sees them play a new high-end gig with familiar hits altered to fit a distinctly different musical style (like reggae, polka, grunge, etc.), and then get into some kind of trouble due to their own, occasionally misguided attempts to do good or get laid.

The musical variations become something of a staple to look forward to in each episode as there's always a full remixed song, however the highlight quickly becomes the moments when all four guys and at least one of the two main female leads are on screen. For the first few episodes the show tries a little too hard to be hip and revel in the kind of "guy talk" movies and television like to imagine exists. It's when the series decides to be less edgy and just lets the characters be kind of weird and do unexpected things that put them on the defensive from Wade and Hardin (or sometimes just everyone on the defensive from Hardin) that the show comes into its own.

By the ninth episode that starts at Oktoberfest with a polka rendition of "I Want to Rock n Roll All Night" and where a running joke (for that episode) of being paid in frequent flier miles pays off over and over, it was pretty clear Wedding Band had found a formula for laughs that could have carried it far and perhaps let it rival Cougartown in its ability to be simultaneously self-referential and pop culture savvy. The show owes its development into something more than just the usual forgettable fare to its unusual 42-minute runtime for what would otherwise be considered a basic sitcom. That doubled runtime gives episodes lots of time to build up genuinely strange endings for stories that makes each one kind of special.

As a sidenote, from the best I can tell the actors are actually doing their own singing here, and possibly even playing the instruments. Considering the musical renditions they churn out in each episode are kind of fun to listen to, that's an unexpected though perhaps very necessary bonus if you're going to make a show about a wedding band. Either way, Wedding Band had far more going for it than many shows that have had multiple seasons on CBS. That it only got one season is a genuine shame.

DVD Bonus Features

A featurette on the series' blend of song covers and comedies is the main draw, with two other pieces covering the various wedding themes used throughout the season as well as the ability to play back all of the songs as they appear in the series.

"Wedding Band: The Complete First Season" is on sale June 11, 2013 and is not rated. Comedy. Directed by Adam Davidson, Jennifer Getzinger, Kevin Dowling. Written by Josh Lobis, Darin Moiselle. Starring Brian Austin Green, Derek Miller, Harold Perrineau, Jenny Wade, Melora Hardin, Peter Cambor.

Jul
02
2013
Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.

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