A plane crashes on a remote island with no inhabitants, no buildings, no means of contact with the outside world. The survivors, mostly strangers, struggle to assemble the basics – food, water, shelter – and to answer the island’s important mysteries. Like: Who brought the suitcase full of sex toys?
TBS’ new ensemble comedy Wrecked takes the premise that made Lost such a colossal hit and infuses a healthy dose of misanthropy, entitled behavior, and unearned bravado to make the strongest new comedy series we’ve seen this year.
Because who says that just because a group of people survive a plane crash that they will just magically forget their petty, selfish little issues? If a man values his new golf club more than his girlfriend (not fiancée) of nine years (seven official), is that something a near-death experience will fix? (Spoiler alert: no it isn’t.)
Like Lost or Gilligan’s Island, this show is also populated with archetypes: the underachieving flight attendant (Zach Cregger) who the other survivors start looking to as a leader; the podiatrist (Ginger Gonzaga) who no one will acknowledge is a real doctor; the long-term couple (Ally Maki and Will Greenberg) who met at a frat party nine years ago and are struggling over his unwillingness to commit; the centimeter-deep Hollywood publicist (the sunny New Zealander (Rhys Darby from Flight of the Conchords, love that guy) who lost a leg in the crash; a hardcore survivalist (Brooke Dillman), and a loser (Brian Sacca) who decides to reinvent himself by telling everyone he is a cop.
With no Internet or any other way to fact-check him, this assertion goes unchallenged. If he says he’s a cop, he’s a cop, and it is similarly up to each survivor to decide who they’re going to be on the island. Before long, it’s time to elect leaders, ration out resources, and build a society, which is not without its problems, like: when you can only go number two under very specific, optimized conditions, and now you are on an island, how do you find relief? When you find a portable DVD player with enough battery life for one movie, and only two discs – Dumb and Dumber To and Selma – which one do you watch?
The cast, while mostly unfamiliar, are strong across the board: Cregger gives great exasperation as a mostly sensible regular guy usually resigned to being the voice of reason; Gonzaga is appealing and genuine as the Type-A doctor with an inferiority complex rivaled only by that of her less successful sorority sister, also on the island; Darby is funny no matter what you put him in; and Greenberg gives one of the great frat-bro douchebag performances of all time as Todd, who makes a power play for control of the island’s resources.
Admittedly, the first episode of Wrecked was probably the one we enjoyed the least, as it takes some time to set things up and introduce everyone. It suffers a bit from a case of the Expositories. But once things get rolling, and we get to know the characters, the show proves resourceful in mining its premise for comedy in inventive ways and, as in the best comedies, relying on character over situations to get the laughs across.
Wrecked airs at 10pm ET Tuesdays on TBS and all episodes will be available on-demand.