During my watch, I rated the episodes slightly higher than I probably should have, because I expected the show to get better. Problem is, it never did.

Imaginary Mary details Alice, who begins dating a man with three children. Her anxieties bring back her imaginary friend from childhood, Mary, who is determined to help her either get through this or get out.

It’s a sitcom, so comedy is supposed to be a component. Imaginary Mary falls flat on humor, and it’s a struggle to remember if any joke was worthy of a laugh. Half the jokes are either about Alice’s overthinking or at Andy’s social awkwardness, which is quite frankly, boring.

The major problem of the show was the dialogue. Every line felt unnatural, clearly being taken from a script. To put it simply: people don’t talk like that. The teenagers didn’t sound like teenagers, and every move they took was far too exaggerated. Instead of an interesting cast meshing together as an awkward family, the show delivered something forced and full. Even as a sitcom, the goal should be characters and not caricatures.

Mary herself, who the show is named after, was probably the weakest character in the show. She was initially created during Alice’s childhood to act as a support during Alice’s parents’ horrible divorce, but she doesn’t act like a kid’s imaginary friend. Mary is crude, loud, and makes sex jokes all the time, which is unthinkable for something to come out of a child. She is supposed to be Alice’s pillar of support or her id figure, but she makes wisecracks and acts silly instead of being a sounding board.The last episode opens with Mary saying that Alice’s success is all “thanks to her”, but that’s laughable since Mary hardly contributes to anything. Although Mary is a figment of Alice’s imagination, she is able to interact with the environment but is only visible to Alice. The rules of how Mary works is never clarified, which makes her character even more confusing. As a child’s imaginary friend, and as the show’s mascot character, Mary is supposed to be interesting to look at, or perhaps cute. Instead, she is rather disconcerting and falls straight into the uncanny valley. Not only does she not serve a purpose, she isn’t very fun to look at, either. It feels like the show tried to take the concept of a Ted-like mascot character and spin it for a new audience, and failed completely. It would have been a lot better off without Mary.

Imaginary Mary was cringeworthy and not at all fun to watch, but it did try. It’s nice to see siblings help each other instead of being totally played for drama. Settling into an established family as a new mother is an extremely awkward thing, and is something worth exploring. Dora, a teenager, gets into activism.

Unfortunately, the problems far outweighed the positives. No surprise this didn’t get renewed.


Noelle Ogawa

A writer, editor, and 4th generation New Yorker. An avid fan of comics and manga, particularly psychological thrillers, or featuring sports. Can't stay away from the horror genre. Long-time kaiju enthusiast.

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