HomeTelevision‘The Unicorn’ Premiere Review: There’s a Good Show in There, It’s Just...

‘The Unicorn’ Premiere Review: There’s a Good Show in There, It’s Just Not in the Pilot

The Unicorn
Photo Credit: Darren Michaels/CBS

Ever watch the pilot of series and wished your introduction to the series was the fifth episode? The Unicorn is one of those shows. 

Fundamentally, The Unicorn has the foundation to be a meaningful show. There are millions who should be able to relate to widowers Wade Felton (Walton Goggins) on some level. Most people have heard of a man afraid to take off his wedding ring and reenter the dating world after his wife dies because he doesn’t want his kids to think he’s trying to replace mom. In this situation, the man must rely on his friends to drag him out of his funk. 

In Wade’s case, Forrest (Rob Corddry), Ben (Omar Benson Miller), Michelle (Maya Lynne Robinson), and Delia (Michael Watkins) are those friends. They support Felton through his year of mourning but know that once all the food gifted to Wade is gone, he will hit rock bottom. The pilot episode follows Wade as comes to terms with his wife’s death, awkwardly navigates the dating world, and parents his daughters as a single father. 

The premise is more grounded in reality than most sitcoms these days, which means on paper The Unicorn has everything going for it.  However, it fails as a sitcom. None of the jokes are particularly funny or memorable. While women, in the series, may find widowers more attractive than divorcees, the fact that Wade’s friends insist he is a chick magnet, or as they dub him “a unicorn,” because he was a faithful husband and that he’s crazy for not dating the hot mom is actually off-putting. The fact that this is “proven” when Wade tells a dating site he is widowed and instantaneously receives around 15 responses from women makes it uncomfortable and, as anyone who has been on a dating site knows, unrealistic. It’s a joke that falls flat. 

Based on the pilot, the show will probably focus on a different one of Wade’s dates. While that could conceivably keep a show on the air for years, Wade isn’t the type of person who discards women like Joey Tribbiani. Even though the date was a bust, Wade establishes a meaningful connection with the first woman he meets, so it wouldn’t be surprising if she reappears in a later episode. 

The Unicorn’s premise will only take it so far. The pilot was a miss, but it’s clear the show needs to find its footing. It is likely that The Unicorn will evolve to be a very different show than the one currently airing on CBS.

Rating: 4 out of 10

The Unicorn airs Thursday nights on CBS, is currently streaming on CBS All Access.

Allison Lips
Allison Lips
Anglophile, Rockabilly, Pompadour lover, TV and Music Critic

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