Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Men are Weiners

I was sorry to see TNT's "Men of A Certain Age" canceled after two seasons. 

The show had a great cast and was smartly written, so naturally it drew a few more viewers than a public access zoning hearing.  I suppose without "very special episodes," DNA tests or brawling hillbillies it was doomed. 

"Men" focused on the lives of three middle aged guys played by Andre Braugher, Ray Romano and a third guy I had never heard of (Scott Bakula, who was good). 

One memorable episode had the boys heading off to Palm Springs for colonoscopies in celebration of Terry's (Bakula) 50th birthday. 

As an aside, if my wife is reading this, I would prefer a tie or golf balls. 

When the boys weren't playing candid camera they ate at a diner and hiked a mountain. 

Sound boring?  It wasn't.

Every time I watched I thought "these writers get it."  To paraphrase Bruno Kirby in When Harry Met Sally, it "spoke to me."   

More importantly, it was television's most honest portrayal of middle aged men in recent memory. 
Let's face it, most guys can't honestly portray themselves.

I was also struck by the timing of "Men's" cancellation on the heels of the Anthony Weiner scandal. 

For those of us trying to forget, Weiner is a now former member of Congress forced to resign after taking pictures, not of his colon but just about everything else.   He sent the pictures to women he had never met throughout the country.  After 10 days or so of denial, he finally admitted the pictures were of him, by him. 

Then I came across an interesting article about men and the Weiner scandal:


My two takeaways:

1.  Women are upset with mopes like Weiner who can't seem to control themselves as they bathe in the raw sewage of power. 

2.  A psychologist (Michael Bader) suggests that we "look with curiosity and compassion and see these (powerful) men as complex human beings, full of feelings of longing, anxiety, and guilt." 

So because men are complex it excuses their behavior? 

I, for one, hope if Weiner's wife was given the explanation, "I'm complex, misunderstood, needy or some combination thereof," her initial reaction was "Boo hoo" and that there were no sharp objects in the room. 

Yes, men are complex.  So are women.  The difference is that most men aren't willing to examine their complexities, preferring to slog along through life holding the proverbial wooden club over their shoulder.  

They're out of touch.  With themselves. 

As a result, women do back flips for a man who is even remotely emotionally available.  I think women tuned in to "Men of A Certain Age" for a glimpse of men as they want to experience them. 

It's sad when a show like "Men of A Certain Age," with its honest examination of men's complexities, is bagged for a lack of viewers.

And men metaphorically canceled.

When men expose complexities it isn't very welcome, even in a fictional setting.


  1. Hilarious and poignant at the same time...you would be perfect as a writer for Men of a Certain Age! love, Love, LOVE this blog!

  2. Thank you Michelle for reading.

  3. Bill, this is great! You would never see these Men tweeting/emailing " the junk shot" (can't claim credit, heard it on a talk show:) It would insult the complexities and integrity of these fictional guys who represent the real realities of life! Everyone needs to search for Save Men of a Certain Age on Facebook and join our crusade to save this show! If you can post a live link that would be great, can't figure it out from my phone! Thanks Bill!

  4. Thanks for reading Beth and for your comments. And I hope the efforts to save the show are successful.

  5. I enjoyed your post Bill. Because of Ray Romano, I'm reminded of the show "Everyone Loves Raymond." It was exemplary at portraying issues as they related to men, women, marriage, etc... It was a "melting pot" of issues that appealed to more than one population and still drove home points. Perhaps viewership is still dependent on that.

    I for one would love to see "Men of a Certain Age" make it. I love the concept of emotional intelligence and would love the world to know that men are very emotional creatures. Just because they express them differently doesn't make the emotion good, bad, right, or wrong. We need good shows with good humor that can convey strong messages and bring us all together.

  6. Thanks for reading and your comments. "Raymond" was a very funny show, and certainly as "in depth" as a sitcom can be. Better than, say, Seinfeld, where the characters were completely self absorbed and had no true connection to anybody.