Two More Previews
I watched two more pilots last week, but haven’t yet had a chance to tell you four readers about them. Let’s get to it, shall we, before they premiere and it all becomes pointless.
First up: We Are Men. Starring Tony Shalhoub, Jerry O’Connell, Kal Penn, and newcomer Chris Smith, We Are Men is the story of four men bromancing each other at a short-term apartment complex known for it’s divorced male population (yet with a surprising number of bikini clad women wandering about- I think they mention it’s because it’s only a few exits from Hollywood, so lots of wannabe-actresses stay there too.)
Tony Shalhoub is Frank, a successful dude whose thrice been married, and subsequently thrice divorced. He basically has the same idea on women as Matthew McConaughey’s Wooderson in Dazed & Confused: “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” Except replace “high school” with 26-year-olds. It’s a little gross, honestly, especially when we then meet his daughter, who is around the same age as the women he’s bedding. Who, of course, is the potential love interest for Chris Smith’s character.
Jerry O’Connell plays Stuart, a guy who evidently hates wearing a shirt, and has been twice married: once to a divorce lawyer who was VERY good at her job, and then to a free-spirited hippie who overnight turned into a materialistic wench who used his ex-wife as her divorce lawyer. So he’s living in the apartment complex while trying to hide his assets. Besides taking his shirt off a lot, there’s not really a whole lot to his character so far.
Then there’s my boyfriend Kal Penn, who plays Gil- a married man who is struggling to connect with his wife in the boudoir, so he has the world’s worst affair, and of course, his wife finds out. I’m hoping, for as long as this show is on, that we get to his wife a bit, because she was played by Aya Cash, aka Callie from Traffic Light (a way under-appreciated, much-too-quickly-cancelled show) and more recently Shelly, the OWS non-leader, on The Newsroom. I really like her and her muppet-y voice, so I’m hoping we get to see Gil try to woo his wife back, because of course, even though it’s been over a year, he still thinks there’s a chance they’ll work it out. Though he’s not opposed to dating his daughter’s friend’s mom with the big cans.
Finally, there’s Chris Smith as Carter, who gets dumped at the altar in a scene very reminiscent of Happy Endings’s opening scene, minus the roller blades Seriously, I re-watched the pilot to see how similar they were, and while not as exact as I thought, it’s pretty damn close. Whatever. Didn’t work too well for Happy Endings, and I’m pretty sure it’s not gonna work too well for We Are Men! Anyway, Carter gets dumped at the altar, moves in, and is the baby bird the other characters take under their wing. They’re trying to re-teach him how to be a man, since he’s been with his ex-fiancee since college, and she’s the only woman he’s been with in the biblical way, ifyaknowwhatI’msaying!!
So the pilot is basically all about trying to help Carter get over his ex and find himself. After all, all men lose themselves and their identifying characteristics when they enter a relationship and become purse-holding, friend-ditching, emasculated sad sacks who convince themselves that farmer’s markets are fun and that giving up interest in a sport you’ve played since childhood and were good enough to play in college is a completely okay thing. Okey doke. That’s not offensive to women at all, making us seem like dream squashers and fun killers.
I’m pretty sure the creators/writers of this show had to be coming off a bad breakup of their own, and had deep emotional issues that meant just getting over it wasn’t a valid option for them, because it’s just ridiculous. I love the cast, I really do, and hopefully the next three episodes will redeem it, but it should be really glad I don’t count pilots because it’d already have its first strike. While there were a few chuckles, overall it fell flat. If you’re going to insult my sex, at least be funny about it and not a giant cliche.
Check out the pilot for yourself here. We Are Men airs on CBS Mondays at 8:30/7:30c and premieres September 30th.
Next up: a show about two people dedicated to finding out what makes us, especially women, tick in the bedroom, ifyaknowwhatI’msaying!! Masters of Sex is about William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the two sex scientists. Masters was an obstetrician who wanted to study how the body behaves during sex, and Johnson was his assistant, brought on to help provide insight into female behaviors- for example, the pilot focuses heavily on the question of why a woman would fake it. Clearly, if you’re squeamish about sex, this isn’t a show for you. There are definitely a few graphic scenes and has explicit conversations about sex acts.
It’s a period drama set in the late 1950s. Masters had been conducting studies previously, soliciting prostitutes to observe in the act, but wanted t set up a proper laboratory in which to conduct his experiments. The head of the university/hospital knew the board wouldn’t okay it though, so Masters started conducting the experiments in secret. Of course, it focuses on their personal lives as well: Masters and his wife, Lizzy, were having trouble conceiving; Virginia had some children and an ex of the African-American variety; Masters’ apprentice, Ethan Haas, is romantically linked to Virginia and believes himself to be in love with her- it’s all very dramatic.
Overall, I don’t know if I would necessarily recommend the show. The acting is good- Michael Sheen gives William Masters a slightly autistic feel because he’s-a-scientist-no-need-for-emotion; Lizzy Caplan is very good as Virginia Masters and is stepping outside her usual snark/dark tone, which is refreshing; Nicholas D’Agosto (Omaha FTW, and P.S. my sister lurves him) is great as the lovelorn apprentice, and the rest of the supporting cast, particularly Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges, are very good too. (My dad pointed out to me that MM and BB also play the parents on The Millers, which I find hilarious!)
But, even though the acting is good, the show didn’t really draw me in. I didn’t really connect with anyone in particular; I know from history that the experiments are successful and they start their own institute and while there is some derision from the scientific community, overall they’re considered quite successful. I even know that Masters and Johnson become Masters and Masters for a while, so it’s not like that’s a suspenseful thing. While it’s not a bad show, per se, I’m not sure it’s a show worth my time. As always, I’ll be giving it the three strike treatment starting after the pilot, so maybe it’ll wow me later on. First impression, though, is meh.
You can watch the pilot here. Masters of Sex airs on Showtime Sundays at 10/9c and premieres this coming Sunday, September 29th.