‘How to Train Your Dragon 3’ Proves How to Finish a Trilogy

While not exactly a golden rule, it is known fact that if a movie does well in the box office, chances are good that it will be followed by sequel and more often than not, we’ve come to expect that the sequel won’t measure up to the original. Add a third movie to the mix and you’re just asking for trouble. With animated movies, the expectations are often even lower. (Is anyone really surprised that the Ice Age movies keep getting worse?) But sometimes, as is the case with the Disney/Pixar Toy Story movies, we’re pleasantly surprised. Now you can add How to Train Your Dragon to that short list too.

One thing that DreamWorks Animation has understood about this series is that the story comes first, the hijinks come later. The very first Dragon movie proved that way back in 2010 with a strong story and with each chapter that has come after it, that story just keeps getting better. What started out as a cute kid’s story has become a powerful trilogy. We've seen these chara…

'Imaginary Mary' is No 'Dharma and Greg'

Review of ABC's "Imaginary Mary."
Matreya Scarrwener, Jenna Elfman, Stephen Schneider and  Nicholas Coombe
in Imaginary Mary (ABC)


I really like Jenna Elfman and I really like her former sitcom, Dharma and Greg. If have haven’t seen the show, the premise was that Dharma met Greg one night, talked and talked all night long and ended up throwing caution to the wind getting married right on the spot. The next day they realized just how different they were from each other. Dharma was a free spirit while Greg was a hard-nosed lawyer, but what made the show work was their determination to make their marriage work regardless the circumstances. While not every situation was one that I could agree with, I really enjoyed the fact that divorce wasn’t an option. Unfortunately, Elfman has never really found a new project in either film or TV that has been as successful as Dharma and Greg and sadly, you can add Imaginary Mary to that list as well.

In this new sitcom, Elfman plays Alice, who today is a strong, career-minded woman. Growing up thought, she was a lot more fragile. Thanks to her parent’s turbulent marriage and eventual divorce, Alice created an fuzzy, imaginary friend named Mary (voiced by Rachel Dratch) to cope. Mary, who is obnoxious and has a potty mouth, helped Alice to get through some tough times and by the time she was an adult not looking for romance, Alice no longer needed Mary. However, after becoming smitten with Ben (Stephen Schneider) a business client and agreeing to meet his kids, Mary returns.

Review of ABC's "Imaginary Mary."
Despite the likability of the two leads, Imaginary Mary is a head-scratcher of a show. I mean, is it meant for adults or kids? Overall, the show is too inappropriate for kids but too silly for adults to appreciate. Imaginary Mary is produced by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Cheaper by the Dozen) who also directed the show’s pilot episode and should know better. The fact that the show’s namesake is a fluffy, puppet-like creature, kids are naturally going to want to watch this show. While this show features a family, it is hardly a family show, but Mary is too foul-mouthed for kids and too silly and/or annoying for adults. The pilot episode shows that Alice has been sleeping over at Ben’s house sneaking out before the divorced dad’s kids come home. After some coaxing, Alice agrees to meet the kids since it appears that she and Ben want to make this new relationship work. Ben’s oldest, Andy (Nicholas Coombe) is girl-crazy with sex on his mind, middle child Dora (Matreya Scarrwener) has little to no personality and Bunny (Erica Tremblay - who came up with names?) is annoyingly cute. After a disastrous first visit, Mary convinces Alice that they need to go out and get drunk and supposed hilarity ensures. It doesn’t.

In a word, Imaginary Mary is “terrible.” Ironically, the show could have worked if it was made as a family show, but it is clearly not that. While many kids today live in conditions where mom or dad bring home dates to spend the night, this isn’t a something that I can get behind allowing children to see, but even that is not the show’s worst offense. The show isn’t funny. Not in the least. While ABC is promoting the heck out of this show as of late, it doesn’t appear that they have much hope for the show either. The number of episodes that ABC had originally ordered for the show was cut from 13 to nine, which is never a good sign.

Imaginary Mary previews this Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. (and again on Saturday, April 1 at 8:30 p.m.) before moving to its regular timeslot on Tuesday, April 4 at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.

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