Take My Wife
Season 1, Episodes 1-6
Great dad material.
A streaming platform that’s not Netflix or Hulu has a decent show starring two very good comedians. Take My Wife isn’t the common semi-autobiographical half-hour series; instead of one main character, we get a couple. Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher star in a series chronicling their mid-relationship lives as they navigate the harsh world of comedy.
Esposito and Butcher star as themselves and, of course, they play the parts well. Relationship dynamics are on the forefront here. Butcher is a lot more laid back compared to her better half. She often takes a logical and solid approach to the couple’s issues but it’s not uncommon for her to slip into comical territory. Esposito, on the other hand, is much more cartoon-like in nature. Having not been in many roles like this while Esposito has been in so many, Butcher manages to hold her own against her costar. Both do a wonderful job of not just acting or getting jokes out but also showing a true portrait of their love.
There are many intimate scenes dispersed throughout where Butcher and Esposito are just laying in bed. Their banter is sharp and doesn’t come off as scripted. The first episode, for instance, begins with the two in bed discussing the female equivalent of a sausage party. The same episode ends with them in a short cuddle montage. Or having the two dance slowly after getting engaged and discussing their show that night is so adorable.That level of love is on display for all six episodes.
Episode four is a loud, cartoon take on the girl's’ life. Esposito goes to lunch with a friend and offers to watch her child to prove to Butcher that they can care for a baby. But they lock the child inside of their apartment, leading to a series of breakin attempts. A sushi delivery guy is invited to join in on the escapades as Butcher tries to break in while everyone else chats. The editing is frenetic, the jokes are even faster, and there’s no room to breathe. It works as much as it stands out and even the ending doesn’t take itself too seriously (obvious fake babies and pizza stealing are very comical).
But the show does suffer in regards to story. No real tension is on display for the entirety of the first season. Butcher is said to be in serious debt from school but that plays only the smallest of roles. The bigger and more pressing issue is to be considered on the same level as her male counterparts. Episode two “Punchline” covers rape jokes and the underlying messages behind them. In one of the oddest but equally powerful fourth wall breaking methods (wherein the featured female comedians in the episode admit to being attacked), the show puts itself above comedy for a second in order to get its point across. Take My Wife stands out, in a good way, when it takes a breather from itself.
The ending, too, is as weak as the story. Each episode has a clear solution -- Butcher gets the couch she wanted to impress Esposito’s parents with, for instance. Esposito gets the tour she wants; Butcher gets the opening gig she wants. It’s all relative. Again, Take My Wife is one of those shows that comes alive in between the story bits. But the relationship aspect, the friendships and interactions outside of the story make up for it.
Should you watch Take My Wife?
There’s a charming quality to this series. Both Esposito and Butcher are excellent comedians with a ton to offer on screen. One of the show’s strength is the willingness to follow the lives of the women but not come off as melodramatic as other shows in the same category. Like The Jim Gaffigan Show, it takes a different look at comedians. The underground aspect in the form of a weekly show in front of a crowd of maybe twenty works. Having one comedian already on the main stage while another is working her way up sets up characters for enjoyable dynamics. The only issue is story not having the same hard hitting attitude. Should there be a second season, Take My Wife will really take off.