Saturday, November 28, 2009
Preview - Men of a Certain Age
So, last week in my mailbox I received an interesting package. The package was designed to look like an old cassette case, though about twice the size. Inside was a USB drive that looked like a miniature cassette tape with a sneak peek at TNT's upcoming drama, Men of a Certain Age.
I watched it and I figured that I'd share my thoughts with you.
Starring Ray Romano, Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula, Men of a Certain Age is a show about three old college friends who are also damaged men. We know this because Romano's emotionally damaged Joe lives in a hotel room and believes that his separation from his wife has actually made them closer.
Braugher's Owen is physically broken because he sleeps with oxygen by his bed, which his wife reminds him to put back on. Rounding things out is Bakula's Jerry, who is spiritually broken, an out of work actor who's so disillusioned that he talks himself out of auditions.
For some reason, either fear of pirating or negative buzz, TNT didn't provide the entire pilot for screening, only the first half. So I can't critique the whole thing. I can say that judging by the tone of what I saw (and the network it's on) that the show seems a bit predictable. In fact the only really boundary pushing was the usage of "shit" which felt excessive given it's mundane surroundings. It also felt forced.
Speaking of forced, every time Joe goes off on a "bit" it feels like Romano's cramming his comedy into the show. Perhaps it's just his delivery, but it's very distracting and reminds me that I'm watching Ray Romano trying to act.
Not that I couldn't use something to distract from the actual writing on the show. While there are some moments of quality (like when Joe gets introspective) the writing ranged from ham fisted to predictable. The married Owen and Joe are envious of Jerry's bachelor lifestyle? I didn't see that coming. After the sales team gets lectured about how bad last month was a tardy Owen innocently asks about the sales for last month – cue laughter. And the whole possum hit and run scene waived between "mildly entertaining" and "bad" before ending on "truly bad."
When I first saw commercials for the show I was interested. I love Braugher and the inclusion of Bakula was intriguing. I wanted to give it a show despite the fact that it was on TNT. But the reality of the show wasn't what I was expecting.
I mean why would you want to watch a show about three college friends; one who's relationship is falling apart, one who's happily married and one who's eternally single, who get together and hang out?
Wait, that show sounds kind of awesome. I really wish that TNT had made that show instead of (damaged ) Men of a Certain Age (having midlife crises).