Two years ago, the trailblazing digital series "Husbands" turned the newlywed sitcom on its head by focusing on two gay men in love who were presented, without apology, in all their stereotypical glory. (It also predicted the legalization of gay marriage and the public coming out of a professional athlete.)
Strip away those highbrow accomplishments, however, and "Husbands" remains a success simply because it's funny and wildly entertaining.
So it's little surprise that The CW snapped up the comedy to help launch its new all-digital network, CW Seed. The network bowed Aug. 15 with the Season 3 premiere of "Husbands" and three other series and will rotate new episodes into the mix on Thursdays.
Created and executive produced by Brad Bell and Jane Espenson ("Once Upon A Time," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), "Husbands" began its life on YouTube and other sites after a Kickstarter campaign raised enough money to film 11 2-minute episodes.
That first season kicked off the morning after the booze-fueled Las Vegas wedding of "feminine" actor Cheeks (Bell) and his "straight-acting" boyfriend of a few dates, pro baseball player Brady (gorgeous Sean Hemeon). (In "Husbands" land, gay marriage already was legal.) The guys considered getting a quickie divorce, but worried that with their high-profile celebrity, they would damage the gay marriage movement. Instead of pulling a Britney, they got to know each other and began to fall in love.
In its second season, "Husbands" expanded with longer episodes and more guest stars. It tackled bigger societal issues as the celebrity newlyweds struggled to make their very public marriage work.
Like any married couple, Brady and Cheeks still are working things out at the beginning of Season 3, which adds notable guest stars Amy Acker, Seth Green, Michael Hogan, Beth Grant, Deb Theaker and Janina Gavankar, who play family members, exes and new neighbors, among others.
Kicking off six weeks after their Las Vegas wedding, "I Do Over, Part 1" opens with the boys "ruining our wedding," as their friend and re-do wedding planner, Haley (Alessandra Torresani), screams when they run from the altar.
"When we got drunk-married, I thought I didn't know you," Cheeks says to Brady. "Now, I know I don't know you."
Brady, in turn, says he has learned more about Cheeks "in the last nine hours than I have in the last 90 days."
"Husbands" learn more about the boys in less than nine minutes per episode. Writers Espenson and Bell manage to pack more social satire and romcom fun into a brief episode of "Husbands" than many TV sitcoms do in 22 minutes.
Yet I can't help but complain, because the episodes zip by in a flash. Quickies can be great, but I wish "Husbands" would stay over longer.
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