I’m starting to wonder if James Van Der Beek holds the world record for starring in pilots that were never picked up for a full series, or maybe they’re just the ones that have been leaked to the public. Either way he has a strong supporting role in this sitcom from two of the writers of Friends which stars Zachary Levi (Chuck, Shazam!) as a guy called Ian who wants to have a child with his wife Jessica (Jelynn Sophia) as they’ve now been married for three years, but when he tells her she’s a confession of her own – she’s slept with another guy and they’re splitting up.
So the “Three” of the title doesn’t refer to Ian and Jessica and a small tiny child but Ian moving in with his friend John-O (James Van Der Beek) and John-O’s wife Annie (Jama Williamson, best known as the demon Val in The Good Place) as he doesn’t want to be alone post break up. An only slightly above average mainstream sitcom follows as Ian tries to adjust to single life but is struggling and then some, at times not even being able to cope with witnessing John-O and Annie being happy, and when he goes out for a night out with creepy friend Roger he doesn’t exactly have the best time of it.
It’s a sitcom which is very much of its time and so John-O has a joke about heckling Bill Cosby during a commencement speech, but it’s of an affectionate nature rather than the vicious comment it would be today, and most of the humour is just about Ian not knowing how to cope with his new found single status, and which comes with the occasional serious moment too, at one point the audience even “Awwww’s” so you know it’s a slightly trite affair at times.
All of the characters are decent enough and likeable but it’s only John-O and Annie who get lines of the laugh out loud variety, which largely revolve learning that John-O’s the kind of idiot who proposed by email, buys Magnum condoms even though they’re way too big for him, and in a slightly weird and misjudged moment claims that being called an Uncle when you’re not related to the child is “Strictly for molesters”. He also complains to his wife that “You can make friends so easily, you’re like a testicle” then explaining “You make new friends like testicles make sperm, you lose some you make a million more” which did make me laugh admittedly, even if it is one of the stranger similes I’ve ever heard, and all of the above makes him out to be the kind of character who it’s unlikely would exist in real life.
At the end of the episode Ian drunkenly makes a move on Annie, and John-O then jokes “You can have sex with my wife…I’m just saying if it’s going to make you feel better, go ahead” and it gave me hope that the show would live up to its title and it’d be a network comedy about a polygamous threesome. But sadly that wasn’t to be the case, as it ends with Ian apologising, and then a short while after Annie is trying to hook him up with a random woman off of the street, as that’s how all the great romances in history began.
It’s a mainstream network comedy with a really great cast and a fair few decent jokes, but there’s also a number of duds in the script and as much as I normally love Zachary Levi he’s rather limp here. So though it wouldn’t have been disastrous if it had been given a full series it’s not one of those times that I’m out for blood that it wasn’t picked up, especially as all involved mostly went on to bigger and better things.