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Men of a Certain Age

Posted Dec 01 2009 12:00am

In spite of a publicist contacting me four times and a Warner Bros. rep promising to send a preview DVD in the hope that I would review the TNT show, Men of a Certain Age, I managed to miss the launch episode.

If I weren't such a fan of The Closer, I probably would have missed it completely, but TNT provided a clever cross promo for the show, and I managed to record a repeat episode.

My husband and I just now finished watching the first episode and I applaud it for giving one HUGE gift to intelligent viewers everywhere: no laugh track! I wish someone would conduct a Nielson-size survey to determine how many shows people stop viewing because of the inane laugh track, but I digress.

I'm not writing a standard review, since there are numerous reviews floating around the Internet. The FatherLife.com wrote a good one. I just want to add my two cents based on our personal reactions, and you can be the judge whether this show will find it's way onto your schedule. Personally, if we didn't have a DVR, I probably wouldn't own a television.

1. We both laughed out loud.

2. We both thought the acting and story lines were realistic.

3. The acting of all characters (kids included) was compelling and true-to-life.

There's a depth of emotion here that was sorely lacking in Everybody Loves Raymond. I know it was a comedy, but I never could empathize with any of those characters.

All three men: Ray Romano, Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap) and Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street), present their flaws, foibles and faith in their friendship in both endearing and comical ways. I wouldn't necessarily classify them as "men in a midlife crisis."

There are self-image issues, to be sure, but none of them have hit the flatlands of a classic mid-life crisis. Which is good because that could get tedious real quick.

These are men who, having reached a "certain age" (meaning over 40, presumably), have a lifetime of experience to ponder and have, perhaps, become more reflective than reactive. To me, this is the value of growing older. It sounds cliché, but we do become wiser. Or at the very least, begin to wake up to the life we were sleep-walking through (like Braugher's character.) Painful to watch, but so true for many midlife men.

As a target audience, middle-aged men is a tough demographic to reach with all the distractions of modern living, not to mention Monday Night Football.

I'm optimistic though. A show that appeals to both men and women, this couple especially, deserves some of our attention.

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