Easy to Assemble Stuck On a Slow Plane to Sweden

[show=easytoassemble size=large]When the second season of Illeana Douglas’s IKEA-sponsored Easy to Assemble premiered last fall on My Damn Channel, it promised fans a unique bit of interactivity: The big climax of the season, in which Illeana (who plays herself) and her nemesis Justine (Justine Bateman) vied for the honor of Co-Worker of the Year, was determined by a public vote.

And the results of said vote have come out this week as part of the three-episode miniseries event Easy to Assemble: Flying Solo. Approximately 20 minutes total, the series, which premiered yesterday, reveals who won the contest while also chronicling the IKEA team’s long flight to IKEA’s homeland. For, while technically the winner, Illeana is being accompanied to Sweden by all of her co-workers where she will, as usual, be upstaged by Justine at every turn.

Watching the complete miniseries, all three episodes of which were made available for review, brought out both the best and the worst of Easy to Assemble as a whole. Always a fantastic showcase for its stars, Douglas, Batemen and the rest of the ensemble cast bring an easy confidence to the extremely simple set-up. Some highlights include: Ed Begley Jr.’s reappearance as the ghost of legendary IKEA inventor S. Erland Hussen, who offers Illeana some much-needed guidance, Justine Bateman stealing every scene that’s not nailed down, and a cool-as-ice Tim Meadows, who is possibly the stand-out performer from these episodes, especially when studying Swedish pick-up lines or complaining about Ingmar Bergman films.

However, the series isn’t flawless, especially when it comes to pace and tone. The miniseries, which is structured in vignettes that take place entirely within the confines of the airplane to Sweden, has several unfortunate moments of drag that keep the episodes from having much momentum — which is unfortunate, given the four-to-eight minute runtime.

Some of that comes from Douglas’s deliberate efforts to create an homage to classic Swedish cinema, due to her obsession with all things Sweden. But even in a Bergman film, things do tend to happen, and an even slightly higher sense of drama would go a long way towards keeping the on-screen dynamics engaging. Flying Solo is a nice way to reconnect with the Easy to Assemble crew, but hopefully the third season will feature a little more plot.