Think of them as Friends who are losers …
In fact, at first, you might think Fox’s new Tuesday night comedy should be called Weird Losers rather than Weird Loners.
In any case, it’s actually a likable foursome of New Yorkers at the core of this new sitcom from creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn.
Episode 1 spends its first few minutes with a “cold opening” that introduces us to each of the four main characters, flashing back to fourth-grade classroom photos with the narrator explaining how, as they grew into adulthood, none of them had been paired off.
“Why does love elude them now – and perhaps forever?” the narrator asks.
Flash forward to the present and we find out.
First, we meet Caryn Goldfarb (Becki Newton), a 37-year-old dental hygienist, as she is having dinner on a cruise ship and accusing her companion, Marty (Josh Casaubon), of always being terrified of intimacy.
“I could see it in your eyes the very first day we met,” she says.
“Which was … Wednesday,” he replies.
OK, so that was only a couple of days ago, but Caryn insists she has always tried to “make him feel safe.”After she suggests couples counseling, Marty asks for the check. Smart move, dude.
Cut to Loser … er, make that Loner … No. 2. It’s 36-year-old Stosh Lewandoksi (Zachary Knighton), chomping on an apple as he sits down in the office of his boss, Adam (Tim Kang), who promptly informs Stosh that he’s being fired. The orders, apparently, are from someone higher up.
Incredulous, Stosh points out that he’s been the top sales rep for nine years. What could possibly be the reason?
“He says you banged his fiancée,” Adam says.
Hmm. Good reason.
Cut to Loner No. 3: She’s Zara Sandhu (Meera Rohit Kumbhani), a 33-year-old artist who has just packed up her belongings and is trying to slip out of the apartment she shares with her boyfriend, David (John Charles Meyer). When he catches her, she says she’s going out to get breakfast. So, when will she be back?
“Um, probably … never … ish,” she replies sheepishly.
Well, at least she was going to have a muffin basket delivered to comfort her boyfriend. Still, he asks, what kind of person just leaves like that? Good question.
Cut to Loner No. 4: Eric Lewandoski (Nate Torrence), a 34-year-old tollbooth attendant still living at home with his father. He’s sitting in his living room, watching a baseball game on the couch with his “Pop” (Carmine Caridi) when the old guy suddenly croaks. Eric is shocked – but, hey, not shocked enough to stop watching the game.
And so, these are the Weird Loners that viewers will undoubtedly grow to love as the show goes on. It may take some time, though.
As Caryn makes her way home from her cruise vacation in a cab, she’s talking on the phone to her mom (Susie Essman), who immediately quizzes her about whether she met anyone and why she went on a singles’ cruise in the first place. Turns out Caryn was trolling for guys, striking out with three different dudes.
Her mom chastises Caryn and tells her she should settle for Howard, the doctor who proposed to her before she went off on the cruise. But Caryn doesn’t want to. See, she likes bad boys in tight jeans and has a knack for making bad choices.
Meanwhile, Stosh finds an eviction notice on the door of his company-owned high-rise condo. When he can’t get in, he gets his neighbor to let him jump over to his balcony from the one next door. He lands on the railing, rather awkwardly.
“Oh-h-h,” the kid next door exclaims. “Right in the gonads!”
As Caryn arrives at her brownstone apartment/townhouse in Queens, Eric – who, it turns out, is her next-door neighbor – is sitting on the front stairs, playing a harmonica. She turns down his offer to help with her huge suitcase and when he explains that he lives next door, Caryn says she already knows that.
She calls him “sock-puppet guy” and, when Eric sheepishly admits that he sometimes does puppet shows on the steps “for the kids,” Caryn points out that she’s never seen any kids around. Which prompts Eric to blurt out that his father died.
Caryn says she is sorry and awkwardly makes her way inside her place, which is quite a mess. Calling out for her roommate, Molly (Jessica Lu), Caryn is startled by a guy who runs down from upstairs donning only underwear. Caryn’s underwear, it turns out.
It seems Molly had a party the night before and this guy ended up having sex with Molly, whom he refers to as Caryn’s “daughter.” So, why is he wearing Caryn’s underwear?
“Mine were too small,” says Molly, who promises to help clean up after she takes a shower. A second guy comes down, looking a lot like the first, and asks Caryn if she has seen his twin brother.
At which point Caryn realizes all of this has to stop being her life.
So, at work the next day, Caryn texts Howard, inviting him over for a home-cooked ENGAGEMENT dinner. Although she hopes he won’t reply with emoticons, he does just that, prompting Caryn to resort to taking a hit of laughing gas to ease her anxiety.
After the commercial break, we find ourselves at the funeral of Eric’s dad. But Eric and the mortician (Lee Weaver) are the only ones there. In walks Stosh, who sits down at the back as the mortician butchers the Lewandoski name and other Polish references.
It turns out that Stosh is Eric’s cousin. They haven’t seen each other in a long time, but Eric is thrilled that Stosh has come. After the funeral, Stosh and Eric are back at Eric’s house. As Eric explains what’s been going on in his life and why he had still been living with his parents (now both gone), Stosh is examining family knick-knacks in the living room. When Eric asks Stosh if the place is still the way he remembers it, Stosh points out that the place hasn’t changed a bit since ’89.
In spite of the fact that Stosh was a “stupid douche bag” who used to put slush balls down Eric’s back, Eric says he has missed his cousin. Sensing a chance to capitalize on an opportunity, Stosh makes a phony gesture, offering to move in with Eric to help him transition to life without his dad. Eric thinks that would be awesome.
Stosh does have one request, though. He wants Eric to get outside and enjoy his life for a change – and get some new pictures for the walls to take the place of the pictures of Eric that seem to be everywhere.
“If I have to sleep here with your picture everywhere,” says Stosh, “I’ll never choke the sheriff again.”
Eric’s quest for some new stuff for the walls takes him to an outdoor art show, where he meets Zara and ends up buying one of her paintings. He has trouble carrying it on the street. (It’s a windy day.) So, Zara gives him a ride in her old VW van.
Back at the brownstone, a frazzled Caryn is busy trying to cook her engagement dinner while her roommate, Molly, is packing up and moving out. Next door, Eric is serenading Zara on his Polish string instrument when Stosh arrives with his stuff. Stosh hears a smoke detector going off and goes next door to help.
As soon as Caryn answers the door, you pretty well know there’s a spark between her and Stosh. He disconnects the smoke detector as Caryn explains that she is cooking dinner for her fiancé – a word she has trouble saying.
Stosh ends up helping Caryn salvage the meal, chopping veggies and impressing her with his culinary skills. They discover common ground in their jobs and end up talking about Caryn’s fiancé, about Stosh’s ex-wife and about their family backgrounds. Before long, the stove isn’t the only thing heating up in Caryn’s kitchen as Stosh begins nuzzling the back of Caryn’s neck. She doesn’t object – but, just then, the door buzzer goes. It’s Howard.
“I’m coming!” Caryn shouts to the door.
“Then get rid of Howard,” Stosh replies. Get the joke?
Howard (David Wain) lets himself in and wonders what’s going on. Stosh introduces himself as Caryn’s neighbor and, trying to think on his feet, explains that he was helping Caryn cook for the engagement party that was supposed to be a surprise so that Howard could meet the gang from the “book club.”
Nice save, Stosh. Well, sort of.
Anyway, dinner ends up as a very casual and bland spaghetti dinner in Caryn’s living room with her, Howard, Stosh, Zara and Eric. And classical music in the background.
After dinner, Howard is busy showing off pictures of his two sons to Eric while Caryn and Stosh eye each other across the room. Stosh tries to strike up a conversation by remarking to Howard that his boys must be excited to have Caryn about to be their stepmom.
Howard concedes that it’s a “work in progress.” Changing the subject, Howard asks about the last book this “book club” has been reading.
Stosh talks about a novel called The Death of Passion, which sparks Zara to put in her two cents.
“Passion is such a fleeting thing,” she muses. “That’s why I’m a big fan of masturbation.”
“Me, too!” an enthusiastic Eric chimes in.
An annoyed Caryn asks Stosh to join her in the kitchen. She slaps him on the side of the head and berates him for the looks he is giving her and his comments, claiming he is ruining her engagement party.
After insisting that it’s HIS engagement party, which he pulled together “on very short notice,” Stosh tells Caryn she shouldn’t marry Howard because he’s more suited to someone who is “less hot.”
Caryn tells Stosh that people make choices for different reasons and, as Stosh inches toward her and starts twirling her long blonde hair, she tells Stosh that their shared encounter before was a momentary lapse in judgment and that she wants to change her ways and seek stability. Uh-huh. Sure.
Meanwhile, out in the living room, Eric has turned into “sock-puppet guy” and is doing a cheesy JFK/Marilyn Monroe puppet show for Zara and Howard. Zara thinks it’s hilarious; Howard doesn’t.
Caryn enters the room and tells Howard they need to talk. They go out into the hall, where Caryn confesses that she can’t marry him. Lamenting the fact that he really loved her, Howard leaves and apologizes for ruining the book-club meeting.
A distraught Caryn then goes out for a night-time walk in the park. Zara, Stosh and Eric follow her and all four of them end up sitting on a bench, looking on as a couple is getting married.
Caryn confesses to Eric that she always thought he was the “weird loner” on the block. (Hey, there’s the title reference!) But now Caryn realizes she is the weird loner and that, if she were normal, she’d be like the bride, marrying a guy that she truly loved, and who loved her back “just a little more.” Out of earshot from the ceremony, Caryn wonders aloud what the people at the wedding are saying.
Claiming that he can read lips, Eric begins to recite the words being said by the minister (John Ross Clark) and, before long, Eric’s recitation skids into a comical variation of what is actually being said. Stosh joins in on the lip-synching game, offering a warped interpretation of the groom’s words, followed by Zara’s fun-filled take on the bride’s vows. As Eric sums up the final proclamation of the minister and the couple marches back down the aisle, Caryn is cheered up but sighs that she still wants to get married some day.
“Enough of this,” Stosh declares as he gets up. “I see an open bar with our name on it.”
So, they all crash the wedding reception and end up partying the night away. Amid all the fun on the dance floor, Caryn says she’ll give her house to Zara, then asks Zara if she needs a roommate because she just gave her house away to someone. Eric manages to catch the bridal bouquet and Caryn chows down on a wedge of wedding cake before the bride and groom even get a chance to cut the cake.
As the foursome finally staggers off at the end of the night, Caryn asks if anyone wants to hit a strip club. Eric says he has to go home first, to get his pink roses into water asap. At which point Stosh proclaims that Caryn may be a whole bag of crazy, but the prize for “Weird Loner” definitely goes to Eric. Caryn then points out to Stosh that he’s going to die alone, too.
But then, maybe there’s still some hope ahead for each of these Weird Loners. Stay tuned.
Weird Loners airs Tuesdays on FOX.