Hit or Sh**: TBS’ WRECKED
In this Crossfader series, our intricate and complex rating system will tell you definitively whether new television pilots are worth your valuable time. We call it: HIT OR SH**.
Ah, Summertime… the time of tropical vacations, sunny beach days, and long overdue dentist appointments. Most Summer activities see people stepping away from their devices for a change, so network television tends to take the opportunity to clear its bowels before the fiber-rich pilot season in Fall. Similar to the late Winter/early Spring deadzone in the film world (not quite Oscar season, not quite blockbuster season), networks are apt to save their best horses for the big race. However, just because it isn’t Emmy material doesn’t mean it’s all bad.
Billing itself as “IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY on that island from LOST,” WRECKED sees a group of lovable fuckups tasked with surviving the wilderness after surviving a plane crash. One must wonder if a premise built so obviously in parody has the legs for multiple seasons of television, but WRECKED has enough funny moments to make the pilot bearable — even, dare I say, good.
I know, I’m as surprised as you are
I’ll go ahead and say outright that fans of LOST should definitely watch this pilot. WRECKED is brazen in its send-ups of the classic drama, including a direct rip-off of the famous opening shot. In fact, most of the pilot’s funniest moments are its jabs at LOST. As our three leading men Not-Zach-Galifianakis, Not-Joel-McHale, and Not-Aziz-Ansari stumble around in the wreckage, a stunningly handsome and capable man bounds down the beach carrying injured passengers on his back as the plane’s engine explodes behind him. He gives the boys overly-philosophical instructions and makes it a point to acknowledge that he was a member of the British Special Forces. That’s Jack Shephard if I’ve ever seen him, and every other overly-capable survivor of a plane crash.
“Please, let me bang you to safety”
Of course, when Not-Jack-Shephard gets unceremoniously squashed by a piece of falling plane wreckage, the travellers are left to their own devices. In this situation, most of us average folks would err on the side of the bewildered passengers than the dashingly good-looking survival experts. Most of the show’s original humor shines through the moments that acknowledge this fact. A girl still high as balls from her in-flight sleeping pills as the crash unfolds and a montage of passengers clumsily trying to follow the crash protocol as the plane plummets to the earth are both highlights, along with literally everything uttered by an overly-polite British man in safari gear.
It’s one thing to write a funny pilot, it’s another thing to have a show with longevity. WRECKED can’t possibly top the production value and drama of LOST or push the envelope content-wise as much as SUNNY. When its best moments are obvious send-ups of two pre-existing shows it can’t possibly live up to, is there really future potential here? None of the characters feel as nuanced or complicated as Sawyer or Charlie. If anything, the characters who aren’t obvious parodies are obvious tropes.
Yes, show creators, I too enjoy BROAD CITY
If WRECKED can step away from its source material, build its own world, and develop its own characters, it certainly has the humor behind it to take it home. On the other hand, if this is just a Frankenstein of better shows in a new suit, maybe there’s a reason this was buried in the depths of Summer. It seems that time will tell.
Verdict: Sh** Probation
WRECKED airs on Tuesdays on TBS