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Men of a Certain Age

Men of a Certain Age: Season 2

What she said:

She

I really like Men of a Certain Age, but I was highly peeved when this second season lasted 6….count them, 6 episodes.  What the heck is that?  Are we letting the TV industry get away with anything now?  Here’s the problem.  While season 2 was very entertaining, and quite enjoyable, the bottom line is that it is very hard to have vital character growth and overarching storylines that compel over the course of just 6 weeks.  Season 2 got by with more of a sitcom feel, very episodic, clear beginnings and endings.  But this show seemed to be conceptualized as an hour-long dramody, and so I think we need more.

Let me back-up and give you the basics.  Joe, Owen, and Terry are life-long friends (don’t we all wish we had more of those), who are pretty much joined at the hip.  And yet they lead pretty different lives.  Terry is the continually single, fun loving “young” old guy, who dates women half his age and never really settles down.  Owen is fairly stable with a wife and children, but takes abuse from his father who owns the car dealership where he is second in command.  Joe is a newly divorced party store owner.  He seems to be an old timer at heart, but also battles with some personal demons, including a pretty bad gambling habit.  Starring Ray Romano, Andre Braugher, and Scott Bakula, the show serves as a bit of a coming of age tale for men about to turn 50.  And yet it resonates with most people above the age of 25. 

Season 2 has Owen struggling for control of his father’s dealership, while Joe trains toward his goal of joining the senior PGA tour.  Meanwhile, Terry starts to feel the itch to settle down a bit, tries to get into a steady relationship, and successfully lands some legitimate employment.  That’s about all that is accomplished in the 6 episodes.  They certainly were great.  I think I enjoyed them as much, if not more than season 1, BUT the show cannot subsist episode to episode or hope to keep viewers who are teased and then dropped for months on end.

Diagnosis: Thumbs up (but they better have more than 6 episodes next season)

What he said:

He

In case you’ve never seen this show, it’s about 3 aging friends and their everyday struggles with life. Joe (played by Ray Romano) is recently divorced and has two kids. He has had gambling problems in the past and occasionally hangs out with his bookie, despite claiming he has quit. Terry (played by Scott Bakula) is an aging ladies man who refuses to grow up. He is a stud with the ladies, but a failure at just about everything else. Owen (Andre Brauer) is a married man with two kids who has daddy and health issues. He works at his father’s car dealership and was recently given the reigns by his father who was forced to retire due to his own health problems.

Despite being at a much different stage than me, I find the show extremely relatable. Everyone has problems, so it has that common ground with me any many others who watch it.

Joe has made some tremendous progress since we first met him. He’s been able to come to grips with his divorce, decided to pursue a dream of playing on the PGA senior tour, and has made some progress with his troubled son. He’s even managed to get back into the dating game at the suggestion of Terry. Despite all these improvements, he still has his some serious problems. He’s stopped gambling for money, but has found another way to get the same thrill and it ends up taking a toll on him.

Ray Romano brings a very real sense of struggle to this aspect of the character. It’s such a vastly different character from his previous show, that it really is quite impressive that he pulls it off so well.

Terry has put acting on hold for a steadier job. Owen has given him an opportunity at the car dealership. Thinking Terry’s acting skills are a natural fit for sales, he helps his buddy out. Terry struggles, but grows more accustomed as time goes on. The change also makes him question other aspects of his life and its nice seeing the guy grow up a little. He’s still Terry, but a little improved.

Owen’s health problems continue to hinder him, but he’s got a new swagger since his old man gave him the family business. The problem is the dealership is struggling since he fired mega-jerk and superstar salesman Marcus. His dad also failed to inform him of some of the finer details of the financial aspect of the business. The rivalry between the sales team and the mechanics also reaches an all-time high. Owen is thrust into power after being his father’s whipping boy for years and is forced to examine himself perhaps even more than his friends.

The guys still face problems, but this season was a lot more upbeat than last, which I liked. Life can be streaky and this show did a nice job in mixing up the characters' fortunes over the last few years.

My only complaint is the fact that the “season” was only 6 episodes. That’s a disgrace.

Verdict: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on January 22, 2011.