Did anyone else watch the premiere of Men of a Certain Age on TNT? No? Just me? It certainly felt like just me. I’m pretty sure that halfway through the opening scene of last night’s episode a tumbleweed blew through my apartment. (Tumbleweeds are the international sign for crickets. Or vice versa.) It definitely was lonely out there. Even the cast of Men of a Certain Age probably had better things to do than to actually watch Men of a Certain Age. But maybe more people should have been watching, because this show is not bad! I’m not saying that I love this show, or that I want to delete everything on my DVR in order to make room for this show and only this show, both new and repeat episodes, save until there is no more room. I’m not even sure that I will watch this show again. But that is still a more solid endorsement than I would have expected to make going into it. I’m changing Men of a Certain Age from a Sell to a Do Not Buy!
Here is why:
Kind of Funny: the humor is gentle, and it is dad humor. But, you know, cool dad! There are jokes about Goji berries for heaven’s sake! Your dad has his own Hotmail account and everything. This show is not just about middle aged men, it prides itself on being for middle aged men as well, which means that it is kind of thick around the middle and a little out of touch. And I don’t know if you know this, but there are literally millions of middle aged men in this country! I don’t know the exact number, but I think it’s something like 132,288,120,973,405,686. Something like that. If this show was a sweatshirt it would say FMADBMAD (For Middle Aged Dudes By Middle Aged Dudes. I figure you already got that, but in case there are any middle aged men actually reading this, middle aged men like having their jokes gently explained to them. That is just one of the things I learned about middle aged men on last night’s premiere episode of Men of a Certain Age).
Lots of Heart: I mean that! Sincerely! This show had the decency to have actually put the work in to create interesting, three-dimensional characters (even if two of those dimensions are “being a little bit old”), so we can at least give this show the respect it deserves. The three main characters (Ray Romano, Scott Bakula, Andre Braugher) have misadventures and love to banter, but they also are going through genuine personal crises that seem pretty spot-on. Romano is in the midst of a divorce due to his gambling addiction. Bakula is perpetually single and running on the fumes of his glory days, and Braugher struggles to earn the respect of his father at the car dealership where he works passionlessly in order to support his family. It is life, jump into life, indeed!
Scott Bakula: Who doesn’t love Scott Bakula? Everyone loves Scott Bakula. Although, he should tell his doctor to cut down his dose of Old Pills. Or maybe even cancel the prescription all together. Apparently, Scott Bakula is the Taylor Lautner of Men of a Certain Age, except that he put on 30 YEARS in his FACE. (XOXO, Scott Bakula!)
Of course, the show is imperfect. For one thing, it is trying a little bit too hard to be “cool.” It definitely feels like Ray Romano Presents: The Garden State at times. And clearly one of Ray Romano’s children introduced him to single-camera sitcoms and the awkward pauses of alternative comedy, which they try to recreate here, except it never quite works. The uncomfortable silences are entirely comfortable, so that instead of pregnant pauses full of (funny) human discomfort, there is just…peaceful quiet. Which means the show kind of drags, and gets a little boring at times. But that’s OK! What else would you expect from a bunch of dads? They do the best they can. All they want is for you to love them, Sport.