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TV Review: Maron

102_Maron_Denis_2Shrewsbury, Massachusetts- Marc Maron is one of the surliest comics working today, but he’s also one of the best. Thanks to his incredible podcast WTF, Maron has surged in popularity. Last year he took the next step by having his own TV show, Maron, premiere on IFC. Now the series has returned for its second season and we are thrust back into the world of Marc Maron.

Marc Maron is struggling with a lot of issues. Not only is he working as a fledging comedian, he is also hosting a podcast out of his garage. His manager keeps setting him up for gigs like a guest spot on the Talking Dead that lead to a whole lot of trouble. On top of that he also deals with issues such as accidentally becoming Ray Romano’s assistant and his girlfriend living with him.

Marc Maron is a remarkable comic and his popularity today has been long overdue. His willingness to gush about anything in his personal life and make it hilarious is quite the skill. However, that works a lot better for him on stage than it does on television. For its first couple of episodes, Maron has laughs scattered throughout, but never fully come together to assemble an overall funny episode. Instead we get stories of things that happened rather than full out comic embellishments.

Maron dusted off his acting chops for the first season and he does an okay job here still. It’s hard to play yourself on screen and Maron does nothing better than being himself. He has a litany of guest stars in the first two episodes alone that add some funny folks for Maron to bounce off of. Chris Hardwick plays completely against his charming demeanor to be a meaner version of himself. Ray Romano and Denis Leary also show up to make us wonder why they haven’t come back to television sooner.

The trouble with Maron is that Marc presents these stories that he thinks are going to be hilarious, but don’t quite hit the mark.. You can tell a story from your life with some bits of humor, but there needs to be something more in that to expose a deeper layer of truth to the proceedings. Otherwise, the story feels cold and disconnects us as viewers. For the first couple episodes this season, Maron seems to be doing just that: shutting the viewers out a little instead of letting them in.

Still though, Maron can go from being a pretty good show to a really good one. The first season was an entertaining batch of episodes that had some heart at times. This current season hasn’t shown as much promise, but it is still early on. Hopefully Maron and company can pull stick the landing by season’s end.

Maron is on Thursdays @ 10 pm on IFC. The first season can be streamed on Netflix. 

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