The Unicorn: Pilot
September 26, 2019 6:41 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Wade is a middle-aged widower who, a year after his wife's passing, decides to start dating. Helping him navigate his new reality are his friends and two adolescent daughters. (CBS US broadcast)
posted by oh yeah! (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I adored Michaela Watkins in 'Trophy Wife', and she's still funny here, but, there's something really off-putting about Walton Goggins - not sure if it's because I've only seen him playing creepy characters and can't shake the feeling, or if he's actually miscast, but I don't expect I'll be tuning into this one again.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:59 PM on September 26, 2019

Huh, the AV Club loved it - The Unicorn pilot is indeed a rarity, because it’s actually good. (Though as the comments point out, in dating site context, the definition of ‘unicorn’ is not widower.)
posted by oh yeah! at 7:33 AM on September 27, 2019

I did wonder about the combination of the title and synopsis, because it's weird for them to have a show about modern dating and then reference a modern dating term that's not what the premise seems to be about at all.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:29 AM on September 27, 2019

Speaking *as* a one-year widower, the part that just didn't ring true is how random strangers cared so much that he was a widower (sent over a bottle of wine, etc). Granted, WG is better looking than me, but my experience has been more of the "look vaguely uncomfortable, mutter "I'm sorry", then quickly change the subject" reaction. My widow support group agrees - you get real sympathy for about two weeks, and after that people seem to assume that you're done grieving and get vaguely miffed if you aren't.
posted by Mogur at 8:31 AM on September 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

I just....think it started in the wrong place? I can see how this could be a delightful season of television, but then he's either going to be paired up with someone long-term, or the character will have to seem a bit shallow in order to keep dating a lot of interesting (storyline-wise) women. I think this would work better if he wasn't ready for dating yet (set the events of his wife's death into the more recent past if need be) and we get to see him gradually warm up to embracing life again.

That said, the cast was really decent, especially the younger actors playing his daughters, who combined "Yikes, Dad is dating" vibes with, "We love him and want him to be happy" vibes. I thought that was handled very well.
posted by xingcat at 8:09 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm willing to give it some more time, but this episode was so exposition-heavy (and dear gods is the title horrible) that I'm really only hanging on to see whether Walton Goggins can convince me this isn't all an elaborate ruse to break into a bank vault.
posted by Etrigan at 1:23 PM on October 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm willing to give this one a shot.
The real relationship is between Wade and his daughters Grace and Natalie as they go from "Random sympathy casserole for breakfast -- cool!" to giving their dad a hug after a more-than-awkward dinner with a person from an online dating club.
At least he finally got a meal that didn't have rewarming instructions.

Married couples Forrest and Delia, and Ben and Michelle are on hand to give Wade pointers and tough love about dating in this modern age. And tune in for episode two when Michelle's sister makes her own observations about Wade's "factory-fresh" potential.
The AV Club review mentioned above by oh yeah! points out that The Unicorn can be described as “Full House, but it’s just Danny Tanner.” I'd say it's levels better than that. No laugh track or studio audience, and the first episodes are moving the ball forward with Wade's adjustment to a more complete life.

Best quote of the pilot, delivered by Natalie (Makenzie Moss): “Brownies for dinner? I’m 12 and even I know that’s bad.”
posted by TrishaU at 12:07 AM on October 4, 2019

I liked episode 2, guess I'm sticking with it. (Do we want an episode 2 thread? I'll post a thread for every pilot no matter the quality, but I'm not sure yet which of this new season's batch will sustain any weekly discussion, especially for sitcoms.)
posted by oh yeah! at 4:15 AM on October 4, 2019

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