Wrecked is one of those comedies where you can almost immediately imagine the pitch-room meeting where this series was given the green light. “Dude, what if Lost was funny?” is how I imagine it, but there was probably a lot more energy and slightly larger words used to sell this comedy about a group of survivors of a plane crash that make due while stranded on a remote island. The series, the brainchild of Jordan and Justin Shipley, isn’t exactly a parody; the specificity isn’t there, and the characters aren’t painted as take-offs of the gaggle of island dwellers that NBC’s supernatural adventure series centered on. I can’t say that I would be tempted by the concept of a straight-up Lost parody, on TV or film, but there’s a feeling that might have been a more entertaining affair than what Wrecked ends up being.
The central characters of the series, from flight attendant Owen (The Whitest Kids U’Know veteran Zach Cregger) to token pudgy, cowardly fellow Danny (Brian Sacca) to modern businesswoman Karen (Brooke Dillman), are all typified by their type rather than personal tics or beliefs. It’s enough that Karen mentions Google’s business plan to get to know her as a person, or watch Danny choose to help a woman find her inhaler rather than save a man crushed under a piece of wreckage to know what he’s about. The dialogue uses keywords while the performers take on familiar deliveries that give you an immediate sense of who they are, but there’s no push back from anyone involved to help give the sense of an even mildly complicated persona.
As such, once you get the humor of their particular type, the jokes grow immediately stale and one-note, making anything beyond the first episode of the short-order series borderline pointless. The show does tease an interesting concept when certain members of the group decide to pretend to be people they are not — Danny wants to work for the police, while Togetherness‘ Ginger Gonzaga‘s Emma pretends to have medical training — but they build almost nothing dramatically or even comedically resonant off of such an idea. Instead, this twist only fuels a few more limp, witless one-liners or rote verbal gags, almost none of which land. So, even when relationships begin to form, there’s a total disconnect, not helped by the comely but indifferently stylized environs, that keeps the series feeling like little more than a test kitchen for the safest kind of humor. Sure, Wrecked is never quite as offensive or simply frustrating as something like, say, The Ranch, but even that thoroughly false comedy had a clear perspective and a narrative trajectory, whereas Wrecked feels – please, please forgive me – lost at sea.
★ – Could Have Been Worse, But That’s Not Really A Compliment