Banner

Men of a Certain Age

Men of a Certain Age: Season 2.5

What she said:

She

The boys are at it again—somberly, for what turned out to be the last time.  Season 2.5 of Men of a Certain Age recently concluded its 6 episode run before being canceled by TNT.  We only had the show for a total of 22 episodes, but it was quietly memorable. 

In season 2.5, Joe, Terry, and Owen tackle their 50s as the world around them seems to be falling apart.  For Joe, he struggles to keep his gambling problem at bay, while also juggling a run at the Senior PGA Tour and reignited sparks with his ex-wife.  Terry deals with the usual lady problems while also trying to secure a more stable and fulfilling job.  And Owen discovers that his father’s poor business practices have left the family dealership in the red.  He tries hard to turn Thoreau Chevrolet around before it’s too late. 

Unfortunately, it was too late for Men of a Certain Age, and despite some promising subplots, charming humor, and genuinely relatable characters, the show will not be able to run its course.  The season closer was by no means a cliffhanger, and so as a viewer I’m left quite unfulfilled.  The writers obviously were unaware when they filmed that this would be the end of the show.  They must have also been unaware that it was the finale for the season because things played like just another filler episode.  Absolutely no loose ends are tied up, and so in some ways I feel robbed.  I  really enjoyed this show, finding Ray Romano, Scott Bakula, and Andre Braugher all very likable, and I never get to see how they end up.  I guess it’ll have to be left to the imagination.

Season 2.5 had some fine moments, although it wasn’t quite as memorable as some of the earlier episodes.   It was fun to see that even people in the 50s are continually growing and learning as individuals, as well as to encounter a TV show that doesn’t revolve around cops, doctors, lawyers, or spies.  I just wish there was a Season 3.0 waiting around the corner.

Thumbs up.

What he said:

He

Things haven’t seemed right with this show for quite some time. You may remember in our review of the first half of season two, the show came to an abrupt end. It was so sudden, we were not sure if the season was over or not. The episode did not feel like a season finale and it turned out to be because it wasn’t. It was merely the last episode before they went on hiatus, which brings me to the next issue.

How on Earth did TNT expect a show to succeed when there’s a six month gap in the middle of the season? And if I remember correctly, it wasn’t really advertised they were taking a break. It was six episodes, then bam, nothing for six months and then it suddenly pops back up on TV again. All of this after you already changed its airtime, which is usually a bad sign in of itself.

Did the people in charge honestly expect this show to succeed after these kinds decisions? No wonder it was ultimately canceled, which is a shame; because it was a good show that was critically acclaimed on more than one occasion. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it is as if a room full of people sat around and actually thought to themselves “What can we do to this show to ensure it fails?”

Sorry for the rant, but I’m disappointed I won’t be seeing this show anymore.

Men of a Certain Age is not a particularly flashy show, but that’s kind of the appeal of it. It’s about three buddies with some very real, relatable problems and how they attempt to help each other through those problems. They meet up on a regular basis at the same diner, to not only enjoy a meal with each other, but catch up on just what is going on in each one of their lives. Again, this may not exactly scream “watch me”, but trust me. The show has a certain charm to it that makes you want more, despite its very pedestrian storyline.

I would also venture to say that the characters seem to exhibit many of the same problems they did in season one. That’s not to say they didn’t grow, just that they didn’t completely change either. Owen still has daddy and work issues, Terry still has women trouble, and Joe still struggles with his addiction and divorce. Thing have just been rearranged a little bit.

When we first met Owen, he was something of a loser. On top of some health issues, he got no respect at work, despite the fact his father was the man in charge. His father didn’t respect him, his coworkers mocked him, and he wasn’t particularly good at his job. Owen still has daddy issues and work is still a challenge, but it’s a whole new ballgame at this point. This time around, Owen is the boss now and trying to keep his staff happy. Mega-jerk Marcus continues to be a problem, particularly as Terry becomes a better salesman. And the rift between the mechanics and sales team never seems to die. On top of that, Owen discovers some problems with the numbers and rival dealership Scarpulla Chevrolet wants to buy them out.

Terry and Joe also follow a similar pattern of two steps forward, but one step back.

Terry really struggles with being a salesman. Unlike acting, he has no passion for it and feels it’s all wrong for him. After toughing it out for a while – with the help of Owen – he really develops a knack for it. He is able to successfully take his people skills he acquired through acting and become an accomplished salesman. You would think everything is looking up.

However, when Erin expresses some doubts about their relationship – which is the first truly committed relationship Terry has probably ever been in – he takes the news pretty hard. His quality of work nosedives and he begins to resort to some old habits. Erin eventually comes around, but the relationship is tested again when Terry gets the itch to direct after he helps out with one of the dealerships car commercials. The thought of giving up a steady job to pursue a passion that never really panned out to begin with scares her.

Will Joe try out for the Senior PGA tour or won’t he? That’s a question that seems to changes every few episodes depending on his mood. That’s what I meant earlier about the show kind of rehashing the same issues over and over. But for some reason, it doesn’t come off that way; it seems like a genuine issue the character is facing.

Same goes for his gambling problem. Joe may have given up gambling, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t teeter on the brink of some major problems, especially as he continues to hang out with his former bookie Manfro.

His wife also continues to give him problems, but not in the same way she did during the first season. I won’t ruin that for you, so you’ll have to watch to find out.

There are rumors that fans and the actors themselves are not giving up on this show. Some even claim Ray Romano, Andre Braugher, and Scott Bakula are refusing to walk away. I hope that is true. But even if another episode of this show never airs, I highly recommend it to you. It’s a simple show filled with complex characters. I feel like I know these guys and want to join them for breakfast at whatever diner it is they get together at so often.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was given the He said, She said seal of approval on July 28, 2011.