A tight-knit group of eccentric thirty-something singles living in the city is not a new concept for television.
It is a premise that has been tackled in a variety of ways over the years, from Seinfeld and Friends to the more recent Happy Endings and New Girl.
Premiering Tuesday, March 31 on Fox, Weird Loners takes a shot at the trope, following four 30-something stock characters unwittingly tossed together in a Queens, NY townhouse:
Type A idealist Caryn, who wants to settle down but refuses to settle, womanizing and morally-stunted Stosh, endearing but dim-witted Eric, who's never been on his own, and free-sprit Zara, seemingly incapable of long-term attachment.
Zachary Knighton (Stosh) of Happy Endings fame and Becki Newton (Caryn), memorable from her stint as Quinn on How I Met Your Mother, recently spoke with reporters about the chemistry between the cast, what viewers can look forward to from the series, and what sets it apart from other sitcoms about thirty-something singles.
Complimenting the dynamic between the characters is a cast with a close relationship off-set. Newton shares that "there was a very easy chemistry" between the cast: "We were able to really play around from day one."
Knighton agrees, praising the other half of the foursome, Nate Torrence (Eric), most recently seen on HBO's Hello Ladies, and new-to-TV Meera Rohit Kumbhani (Zara), "We love each other."
Sitcoms seem to come and go and the scramble to find an audience before cancelation is a real struggle for many series premiering mid-season. Success comes in the ability to stand-out from the other laugh-track heavy comedies gracing network TV this spring.
Airing in the time slot following New Girl, another show about quirky singles weathering the awkward baggage-ridden mine field that is dating in your thirties, the comparisons will be inevitable, for better or worse.
But how does Weird Loners distinguish itself from the pack? Knighton finds that, "in a weird way these people are just not very likable. I mean they’re kind of pathetic in their own ways...I think that’s something funny to explore in television. You know, I don’t know if you’re really rooting for these guys or not."
Newton agrees. "I think you watch it and you’re cringing while you watch it." She furthers that, "maybe in the past, characters on TV were more inspirational, you watched it and hoped you could be like them or look like them, or act like them. In this case, you absolutely do not want to be like any of these people but it might be fun to watch them because you sort of can’t believe their behavior."
That said, Newton, who shares that her first acting job was dressing as Barney the dinosaur at children's parties, admits there are certain similarities between her and her character. They both share an, "unwavering optimism in the face of logic."
Of Caryn, Newton claims she, "doesn’t really look at the facts and often gets herself into trouble and no matter what, she doesn’t really learn any lessons and just stays supremely optimistic...I like people that don’t really learn their lessons but keep on going anyway."
Knighton, on the other hand, believes he is the opposite of his Weird Loners character. "I feel like I’m not as concerned about running scams as Stosh is, but it’s so much fun to play that and for me it was just a great little exploration."
For Knighton, Stosh is, "kind of a despicable guy." and playing the character is an opportunity to, "explore that darker side of myself for comedy sake, because I get to do kind of despicable things and not really have to pay the consequences."
Whether Weird Loners will find its niche is yet to be seen. The premise is promising, but mid-season television is a lot like dating in your thirties. Sure, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but how many of them do you still want biting at your line come June?
Make up your own mind March 31, when Weird Loners Season 1 Episode 1 premieres on Fox.