Monday, January 4, 2010

Why Men of a Certain Age Watch "Men of a Certain Age"

TNT’s new “guy show” “Men of a Certain Age” has quickly become one of my favorites. I think that it’s mainly because I’m a “man of a certain age”. No one’s really ever tried to focus on “us” before. You know, guys who quite frankly are past “middle age”. We’re the ultimate “tweeners”. Too young for senior discounts and too old to keep up with the young guys. We remember why looking at attractive young women is fun, we just don’t have the energy or inclination to do anything about it anymore.

I recall a visit to the doctor about 10 years ago when I was 48. I called myself middle aged. The doctor looked at me and said, “Look, I’m the same age as you. Do you really think you’re going to live to be 96?” My response was, “Well, no.” “Then, we’re really not middle aged are we?” was his reply.

Well, damn. I didn’t need to hear that then. And I don’t need to hear that now. But crap, it’s true. That’s why I like that term “man of a certain age”. There’s not as much “pressure in the fire hydrant” when we go to the men’s room—and we go there more often too. We thought we’d be full of success AND wisdom by now and yet neither of those seem to be our companion. I don’t want to wait until I look and sound like Wilford Brimley before I’m considered sage or wise.

Like the 3 characters played by Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher, we’re “men of a certain age” and yet we still don’t seem to have it figured out yet. Each of us is floundering about in our own way.

Of the three, I probably like Andre Braugher’s “Owen” the best. Ray Romano and Scott Bakula seem to be playing to “character”—pretty much the same character they’ve always played. Braugher’s character though is far removed from his detective role on “Homicide, Life on the Street”. He plays a pudgy, long-suffering husband and father unable to earn the approval of a stern, judgemental father who keeps him huffing along in the middle of the pack of salesmen at the family Chevy dealership.

Romano is separated from wife and children and owns “Joe’s Party Store” although his dream was to be a golf professional—although his proclivity for golf has yet to be established as either fact or wishful thinking. He lives in a hotel filled with others in similar circumstances.

Bakula’s character is still “fleshing out”. He’s the “Peter Pan” of the group. An ageing actor, he makes his living as a “temp” worker but still engages in the type of social/sex life that others only fantasize about. Is he happy with who and where he is? Time will tell.

These 3 spend a lot of time at a Norm's restaurant in L.A. talking about all
sorts of things--work, wives, golf, ideas, and mostly just "bs-ing". I love
the idea that the setting is here rather than a more pretentious Starbucks
or LAesque "bistro". These are real guys--not the pretty-boys who shave
their "happy trail" that somehow we're now supposed to emulate.

“Men of a Certain Age” reflects and captures the uncertainty so many of us
feel, even at a point of our life where we should be certain in who and what
we are. No matter what our “certain age”, we all still seem to be barely
removed from that inner 7th grader. That’s why this show leaves me
somewhat uncomfortable each week but also comforted from knowing that
I’m not the “Lone Ranger”.

This past year has seen many of us “men of a certain age” thrown into
uncertainty by economic worry and the fear that we are no longer relevant.
Many of us now hope to “just get by” until, hopefully, we can retire into a
semblance of normalcy, belonging and some sort of satisfaction that our life
has indeed been meaningful.

All that put aside, I have only one problem with “Men of a Certain Age.”
Men of that certain age tend to have a problem staying up until 10 p.m.
Many of us are already asleep by then or drift off to sleep sometime before
11 or get grouchy if we stay up past 10. We go to sleep early
because we get up early to pee. And, this show isn’t targeted to an
audience younger than 40.

My twenty-something kids don’t watch it. They barely remember
“Everybody Loves Raymond” let alone “Homicide” or “Major League 3”.
So put this on an DVR-less, old-fart’s schedule! (9 p.m. would work just

Hopefully this man of a “certain age” will be able to get home from work
Monday night at 9 p.m. and still be awake at 10 to enjoy “Men of a Certain
Age” and manage to keep my eyelids open and brain functioning until 11.
You’re welcome to join me.

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