Last night, Brandon and I happened to catch an episode of the new TBS sitcom called “Men at Work.” You may recognize the name from the absolutely relentness plugging that’s been going on for the show. It wasn’t a show we
sought out, but it came on after a repeat of The Office, so we sat through it.
And ugh. This piece of crap cannot be cancelled fast enough. Cliched writing, characters, stock jokes, and plots. Ripping off better shows. The only reason anyone is saying this is the guy’s version of Sex and the City HAS to be because that’s something the marketing for this show came up with, because it’s nothing like that at all, apart from having four male characters in one show.
The New York Times review gave me access to this gem of knowledge:
Not many television shows these days can be said to have courage, but a new sitcom on TBS called “Men at Work” certainly does. It has the courage to announce: “Guy shows can be just as crass, penis-obsessed and vacuous as all those gal shows that started turning up last fall. More, even.”
…was that something people had doubts about? Seriously?
The IMDb page gives the summary of the show as “In this new comedy about four friends who work together at a magazine, the recently dumped Milo barely has time to nurse his wounds before his friends decide to help him get back in the game. Together, the four help each other navigate work, friendship and women.”
In light of that, let’s take a look at last night’s episode, shall we? I don’t really know what the characters names were because they made little impression on me, but also because they were easier to ID by archetype. We had Insensitive Ladies’ Man, Beleagured Guy With Girlfriend, Metrosexual Dude, and Bearded Everyman. I couldn’t tell you by the episode I saw which one is the supposedly heartbroken lead, because here’s what happened to each of them in the half-hour that followed:
- Metro and Everyman met a Hottie at a bar who wanted a threesome. After stealing HIMYM’s “Devil’s Threeway” phrase, they go for it. As well as going for it once again later in the episode.
- Insensitive is handed off to The Girlfriend so that Beleagured can catch up on DVR. Insensitive & The Girlfriend go to an exhibit on Women’s Suffrage and he Learns the Error of His Ways to an Extreme.
- Beleagured bemoans his horrile situation of having to do everything The Girlfriend wants to do. He gets out of this one and then catches up on his DVR (see above).
None of these guys looks to be hurting from recent heartache or doing all that badly in the dating world. I wouldn’t expect that premise to last forever, but I think this show has had about two episodes at this point, so, yes, this information should still be informing the storyline.
There were maybe one or two jokes that did alright — Beleagured’s speech to Insensitive about how he was overdoing it with his new-found sensitivity was amusing, since he kept making references to the shows he’d finally caught up on (until Girlfriend cut in to tell him to drop it, at exactly the right point before the joke became old). Speaking of which, when Beleagured was going on about the horrifying lives of people on Hoarders, it was amusing for Everyman to point out that he had 50 episodes of the show stored on his DVR.
But these were very few and very far between; the other jokes and tropes were just tired. Insensitive learns his lesson, but in the wrong way, how ironic! Metro can’t get it up for the first threesome (insert old jokes about ED here), but the second time it;’s all good — oh no, he was holding the other dude’s hand! But hey, let’s just never speak of it again, “no homo”, amirite? Everyman was just bland all around, and Beleagured, while getting some amusing jokes (I was glad to see Buffy’s Adam Bush getting work, and enjoyed his acting more than anyone else’s), was stuck with the god-awful plot hook of “oh poor me, I can’t have fun because my girlfriend wants to do something boring!” Considering that Girlfriend never came across as demanding, awful, or unfun, I don’t see how this was a problem anywhere but in his head. Also, here’s a trade secret, straight from the source: ladies are willing to compromise about what social activities we engage in as a couple, because it’s a partnership, not the whims of a single person.
Now that is some TOP SECRET info right there, so don’t go spreading it around, okay? I could get in serious trouble!
All that need be said about Hottie is this: that’s all there was to her character. Her lines were shallow and meaningless, she was there to be a prop in this story, and nothing more.
In conclusion, Men at Work: You’re Doing It Wrong.