On ‘Men of a Certain Age’ by a Man of a Certain Age

When I first heard about Men of a Certain Age, I was unsure if I wanted to try another dramatic series. But, Deb seemed tickled that the title covered my stage of life, and the reviews seemed pretty positive.

We tried the show, thanks to the miracle of the DVR, just the other night and I have to say, I was not impressed.

Despite two remarkable actors – Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula – and a potentially interesting premise, I was left cold. The problem is that after one episode, none of these are likeable characters. There’s no sympathy for any of them as each seems to have found themselves in these unhappy positions through choice. There’s Braugher’s car salesman who won’t deal with his sleep apnea or look after his weight, possibly brought on by his diabetes. Then we have gambling addict Ray Romano who runs a party goods store but isn’t actually running the store, but hiding in the back. Finally, there’s so-so actor Bakula who is drifting through life going to the occasional audition but surviving from a series of temp jobs and one-night stands.

Now, we’re given hints as to how they got here. Ray is divorced so there’s trouble at home but we’re not sure why this happened. Andre works for his father at the car dealership, and this is a man who thinks injections of insulin is unmanly so there are self-esteem issues at play, but he’s also happily married. We have yet to figure out what Scott’s issues are.

Apparently these guys have been together, watching each other self-destruct, since college and you have no real feel for why they’re together after all these years.

The reviews all point to the show getting better with each passing episode so we’re committed to at least 2-3 more in the hopes we see a glimmer of compassion.

People make big deals out of age milestones, freaking out at 30, 40 or 50 because they’re so old. To me, it’s really about being dissatisfied with what you have accomplished by that date, as society has trained us to grow and evolve and do something with the time we are given. These men, on one side or the other of 50, clearly don’t like where they are at this milestone age. The choice is clearly theirs to change that and if they strive to improve then we’re in for some interesting drama. If they, instead, wallow in their dissatisfaction, then we’re outta here.

I’m watching this through my experience at being a man of a certain age. Am I entirely thrilled with my circumstances? Not entirely since I dislike the notion that I am constantly scrambling for work and always fretting about where the next assignment is coming from. After AMI made the moronic decision to shutter Weekly World News, I found myself a fulltime freelancer and rather than moan about it, I am working hard to make something of this new chapter in my life. For the most part, it’s working. So sitting here, watching three unhappy men is not my idea of entertainment.

5 comments

  • Andre Braugher is an actor I will watch in anything, simply because of how good his won on Homicide. I have the first episode on my DVR, but am waiting for a couple to be “in the can” before I watch it, simply because I find pilot episodes don’t much work for me.

  • Janna Silverstein

    You said: “…rather than moan about it, I am working hard to make something of this new chapter in my life.”

    I understand how you’re feeling about watching the show. I think we’re of a mind in this respect: we are neither of us the types to allow circumstances to dictate our actions. We act–take some responsibility–rather than simply exist. I find myself impatient with people who are unhappy, have the option of changing their circumstances, and yet do nothing. I hope the show improves and we see some of that. Theoretically, storytelling should be centered around a character’s changing or evolving. I guess we’ll see.

  • I taped the first episode too, Bob, but haven’t had the chance to watch it as of yet. The promo commercials make it look both funny and good. I’m sorry to hear such a negative review of it. I’ll have to watch it tonight.

  • Very disappointing show, though I don’t find that these guys were all unlikeable so much as badly written — and since this was Romano not writing a comedy, I think that explains it. To some degree, just as every 17-year-old thinks that his experiences are new to him, so too does every middle-aged guy think that no one has ever experienced what HE’S feeling. I find it interesting that none of these characters is like the broad range of Americans — working a 9-to-5 job at someone else’s pleasure. Unless the second episode pulls a complete 180, I expect not to see the third.

  • Pingback: Still Can’t Decide if ‘Men’ is Worth Watching | BobGreenberger.com

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