Marlon Wayans' new comedy, "Marlon," laughs at life when it doesn't work exactly to plan

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10 August 2017
NBC, Aug. 16, 9:00 PM ET

By Lori Acken

“Marlon Wayans” and “family sitcom” might seem like one unlikely combo.

Wayans, part of the entertainment dynasty responsible for the Scary Movie film franchise and such ribald TV hits as The Wayans Bros. and In Living Color, is the first to admit that, at 45, he still enjoys creating and consuming in-your-face, “14-year-old-boy” humor. So what’s he doing on NBC, playing a wacky dad of two charmers who is laser-focused on winning back their mom in the family-friendly new Wednesday night laugher called Marlon?

In short: Living his truth. Wayans created the series based on his own home life. He and longtime partner Angelica Zachary, though never married, co-parent teenage Shawn and Amai, and navigate Marlon’s globetrotting, fun-loving ways the only way Wayans knows how — with humor. Hence, Marlon’s Marlon Wayne is also a devoted but unfiltered father of two whose fame (he’s an online superstar) and comic flair often land him in hot water. Not least of all with his exasperated, ultra-together and completely over-it former wife Ashley (Essence Atkins, Mr. Box Office), who can’t get her ex-man to realize they’re not together anymore.

“He dreams and hopes and wishes that they were,” Wayans says, “but sometimes life don’t work like that and you’ve got to make the best of what you’ve got and what you gotta do. And that’s loving your family, because at the end of the day, how I see it is that you’re never going to stop being family. Once you’re in the blood, you’re always going to be in the blood.”

While Wayans has aspired to “live on TV and make people smile” since he was a kid, his real motivation with Marlon is to give viewers a relatable take on a healthy family unit at a time when “mom, dad and the kids” rarely resembles Father Knows Best. “I’m happy to break down the whole system and take the pressure off of everybody to always act like everything is OK and act like ‘Oh, I’m perfect.’ Nobody is, man!” exclaims Wayans, who improvs liberally in each episode. “Every family — we’re all the Munsters!

“I let my kids know I’m broken,” Wayans continues. “Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves as parents to act like we’re perfect. We gotta allow people to be who they are and you love all around them. You don’t judge, you just love.”
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