'Weird Loners' Is Quirky, Unique, Low-Key: It Needs You

Ken Tucker
·Critic-at-Large, Yahoo Entertainment

If I tell you that one of the best aspects of the new sitcom Weird Loners is that it has a sweet nature, will you say, “Eh, there’s a show I don’t have to watch”? OK, then I’ll say this: Weird Loners is one of the raunchiest, craziest new shows on TV. 

Which it’s not, but if it gets you to watch, I can live with my lie. This funny, charming show follows four characters: Stosh (Happy Endings’s Zachary Knighton), who lusts after women in an aimless way, more out of habit than conviction; Caryn (Becki Newton from Ugly Betty), who lusts after men in a slightly more concerted way but is distracted by the burden many women are compelled to take on — that she’s getting older (she’s in her, gasp, late 30s); Eric (Nate Torrence from Hello Ladies), is an amiable dork; and Zara (officially designated “newcomer” Meera Rohit Kumbhani), an assiduously eccentric free spirit. All are excellent.

Weird Loners, to its credit, barely tries to bring these characters together in conventional sitcom ways. Stosh may have the hots for Caryn, but no more so than he does most women who walk by. Eric and Stosh are cousins, and in the pilot they move in together, but they don’t have any odd-couple tensions or handsome-guy/goofy-looking-guy comradeship.

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Instead, Loners finds its humor in jokes that wouldn’t read funny if I transcribed them here but really work onscreen because they grow out of the moments from which they erupt. You may remember Newton from Ugly Betty, but she reveals a real star quality in Weird Loners, a novel mixture of funniness and appeal that makes the viewer feel like Stosh does — you really want to get to know this woman Caryn. 

Loners was created by Michael J. Weithorn, whose big previous credit is King of Queens, but Loners isn’t anything like that show. The Loners pilot was directed by Jake Kasden, who had a hand in launching Loners’s time-period lead-in, New Girl, and The Simpsons’s Mike Scully in among Loners’s producers. In other words, this show is guided by sitcom pros, but it doesn’t feel like an old-pro show at all. It doesn’t go for easy or cheap laughs, and most of its scenes don’t follow the usual sitcom trajectory — instead, they take odd twists and turns. 

What makes Weird Loners difficult to write about is exactly what makes it a special show. But an admission like that isn’t going to compel you to watch, is it? OK:

I tell you, this show is nuts! It’s so sexy! It’s so dirty! 

It’s sooooo not any of those things!

Weird Loners airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.