It Got Real

Imaginary Mary Premiere on DISH

Imaginary Mary on PrimeTime Anytime

Imaginary Mary premiered on ABC this week, fulfilling its promise to be one of the most strange and jarring shows on network television. In the first five minutes, young Alice, the main character, is confronted with her parents’ divorce and births Mary, an imaginary creature about three feet tall, from her brain. Imaginary Mary helps Alice cope with her family problems for about a decade, and then Mary disappears. Alice becomes a successful public relations professional representing sports stars.

Other than that, everything is… quite normal.

In a work meeting, Alice, now grown and played by Jenna Elfman, meets Ben, a handsome adult man played by Stephen Schneider. They begin a romantic relationship. He does not have an imaginary friend, but he does have a dating profile. (It’s an embarrassing one.) He also has three children, who are real. When Alice thinks about having a relationship with Ben and his children, she’s so alarmed that her imaginary pal Mary comes back.

Mary is a three foot troll who talks in the voice of Saturday Night Live’s Rachel Dratch. Mary looks like a depression ad mascot came to life and had 15 cups of coffee. “Coddle me. Make me feel good. Give me advice,” Alice begs of Mary at one very stressful moment. Mary advises Alice to have ten drinks. She tells her to feed Ben’s kids ice cream for dinner. The quality of advice here is not so good, in other words.

Here is advice that is good: you can watch the premiere of Imaginary Mary on PrimeTime Anytime. Your Hopper 3 records all primetime shows on select networks so you can watch them whenever you want. Catch Imaginary Mary along with the whole ABC Tuesday primetime lineup of The Middle, American Housewife, and Fresh Off the Boat.

Here’s what we dug about the show in its inaugural episode.

  • Jenna Elfman commands the screen, let’s face it, quite attractively.
  • Ben’s three kids. Andy is very funny, like if Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was desperate only for retweets.
  • We’re told Ben’s youngest, Bunny, is going through a death-obsessed phase. She seems like the coolest and probably most well adjusted character.
  • Stephen Schneider has found the precise boundary between “stubble” and “beard.” Is it very heavy scruff, or is it a permanent look? It is impossible to look at him and not wonder about this.
  • The show’s drama is all about whether Alice will listen to Mary. We’re encouraged to hope that Mary will become less and less necessary.
    Alice has a very impressive collection of antique electric guitars.

See Imaginary Mary in its regular time slot Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.