Every day, my inbox fills up with pitches from various companies, events and products that would like me to talk about them. As someone who makes a living helping run a marketing agency I am certainly jaded when it comes to getting a poorly done outreach. That is why when I got contacted about the new show coming to TNT called Men of a Certain Age and it was appropriate, on target and done right I paid attention.
The show explores the unique bonds of male friendship among three men experiencing the changes and challenges of mid-life. They have been best friends since college but now, in their 40s, are navigating through the second act of their lives. Joe (Ray Romano) is a friendly, slightly neurotic, recently separated father of two who had dreams of being a professional golfer. Now he owns and runs a party store. Terry (Scott Bakula) is a laid-back, handsome actor who seems to breeze through life (and women). Lately, he’s spending more time working as a temp than as an actor. And Owen (Andre Braugher) is an overstressed husband and father of three who endures constant criticism from his father, for whom he works as a car salesman.
I had seen previews of this show, but it does not premiere till December 7th at 10pm on TNT so we had set the DVR to record it for us. You can watch a preview on their site.
I was skeptical because I don’t find Romano funny at all. I know millions love him, but something about him has always irked me in the worse possible way. But, based on the other two leads and the premise of the show I was willing to give it a chance.
As part of the outreach I was sent a package made to look like a mixed tape. Inside was a little USB drive in the shape of the cassette tape. What a great idea and the perfect branding opportunity. Not only did the drive have a preview episode of the show on it but also a couple of tracks from the soundtrack of the show that tie into the show since music seems to be a critical and smart part of it from the start.
The preview I was given is the first half of the premiere episode, so most of it was set up and character development as you get to know each of the guys a bit better. They are a sad mix of guys, but very close to the truth which is what is going to make this show work. I was a little scared to see pieces of each of their lives in my future perhaps. While a show like Sex In The City played up the life style that women want, this show focuses on the reality that men are going to face. I liked the honesty in that.
Based on the 20 minutes I was given, I liked the look of the show and the writing is dead on. This is NOT a sitcom and while you’ll be laughing, I think you’ll be thinking and reflecting more then anything. Plus, I know that if I ever run over a possum while out driving I’m going to flash back to this show instantly. (You’ll have to watch to get the joke.)
I’m also happy to say that Romano didn’t bother me as much as I was ready for. He is playing a very similar character to the one he has in the past, but I think the fact that it isn’t surrounded by a laugh track is why I was ok with it. His character IS right for the downtrodden, kicked puppy look, that he always has on his face. Bakula and Braugher are both equally as good and I’m already curious where their characters are going to go.
If you like a little thinking mans fun with your comedy then I suggest checking out Men of a Certain Age. It’s shockingly close to real life and that will either be the doom or the savior of this show. It all depends on how the audience reacts to seeing a show about guys they all know or are.
Thanks for sending me a preview and curse you for me now having to watch another show! I was happy with the couple that I had to tune into each week. *grin*