Creators: Justin Adler, Maggie Mull
Stars: Trent Garrett, Chase Yi, Adam Korson
Some programs can be so utterly charming that you’ll tend to ignore most of their considerable flaws. Hulu’s latest dive into the shallow end of streaming sitcom is with Maggie 2022, a fantasy comedy series full of weirdos and a wacky central story that leans toward the romantic. The show is a light and delightful departure from a full list of R-rated fares that dominate media services today. That said, it’s not all Sean, Gus and pineapples. The show has too many episodes and the plot feels like it was lifted from a classic 90’s sitcom. However, Maggie gets a lead performance from her breakout star Rebecca Rittenhouse, who is a star in the making.
Maggie (played by Rittenhouse) is a psychic/carefree millennial who tends to stray from serious romantic relationships. Why? That’s because she can always see far into the future. That is until she meets Ben (The Baker and the Beauty’s David Del Rio), a lovable history teacher with a cute sense of humor and a heart of gold at a party. She was hired to do psychic readings. So when Ben works up the courage to walk over to her table to read and talk to her a second time, Maggie sees her future and is surprisingly into it.
Maggie runs away, scared, and again runs into Ben a few weeks later. She dates her sister Amy (Angelique Cabral from Undone) and her boyfriend Dave (Leonard Nam). They spend a magical night together, and when they shake hands the next day, she too has an involuntary psychic vision: Ben is marrying someone else. She ends it right there because there is no future. A third chance encounter occurs when Maggie’s parents (the fun couple of Chris Elliott and Kerri Kenney) welcome a new tenant. Who could it be? It’s Ben, of course, moving in with his longtime girlfriend, Jessie (Chloe Bridges). Yeah, Maggie doesn’t seem to be an effective psychic.
Maggie Season 1 is based on the Tim Curcio short film, and the series has had little fanfare or marketing to this point. The series has limited established star power, except for veteran comedian Chris Elliott, who I’m sure most Gen-Z (or Millennials, for that matter) will have no idea who he is. However, the selling point here is Rebecca Rittenhouse’s stellar performance. The actress is effortlessly charming; she is a complete breath of fresh air. It’s a twist we haven’t seen on TV, network, or streaming in quite some time. If I were to make a comparison, she might be the closest thing we’ve had to Lauren Graham since, well, Lauren Graham.
Maggie was created by the team that brought you Life in Pieces, Justin Adler and Maggie Mull. The show is full of charming supporting characters. Not just Elliott and Kenney who steal the scene, but most of all Nichole Sakura from Super Store who plays Maggie’s best friend Louise and Don’t Trust the B**** in Ray Ford from Apartment 23. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the endless supply of quirks and deft comic story timing. For example, in the season’s best episode, Kenney says, “His teeth came out on the side. All the other kids would see her and scream. She was traumatizing, for her too”, when explaining to Daniel the vision of her little daughter.
Like I said, the show stretches into 13 unnecessary episodes. I’m sure this was because Maggie was originally scheduled to air on ABC. There is nothing here that could not be reduced to eight or ten. You also have the Rebecca and Daniel subplot, which is a sub-narrative that’s not exactly original. The story is driven by Maggie using her visions to navigate her life towards future relationships.