Between shows like Community, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Wilfred, Louie and Futurama, the current world of television comedy sees zany, hyper-reality shows reigning supreme. But every extreme needs a counter-weight. Something that provides a different style and perspective. And this summer, that counter-balance is called Men of A Certain Age.
The Ray Romano/Andre Braugher/Scott Bakula dramedy may receive similar critical praise to the aforementioned series, but the show doesn’t have nearly the same sized audience. And that’s a shame since the show is arguably one of the most wholesome, down-to-earth programs on television at the moment.
Currently in the tail end of its second season, Men of A Certain Age focuses on three men in their forties trying to cope with the fact that there is now more time behind them than in front. Joe (Romano) is a gambling addicted, divorced, party-store owner who has recently befriended his former bookie. Owen (Braugher) is a car salesman turned dealership manager when his father passes the torch to him with an attached price. And Terry (Bakula), a former actor turned car salesman who can’t seem to maintain a stable relationship. Now that we got the introductions out of the way, let’s get to the reason why you should be watching the series.
For the most part, the series seems to follow the theme of people trying to make something of themselves. Whether it’s realizing their dream of being a pro golfer, having the best car dealership in town, or just being able to settle down and have a family, these three men are at a crossroads in their lives, and thanks to some brilliant writing they’re able to find the humor in real-life troubles like cancer and a failing economic climate.
Take the episode three weeks ago, A League of Their Owen, which is arguably the best episode of the series to date. In their own special way, MOACA was able to provide the audience with a sense of sincere joy in something as meaningless as a company softball game. To sum it up from a single scene, any show that can make one laugh at big man Andre Braugher running full force into a woman a quarter his size so that he can steal home base deserves a gold star in my book.
Not to mention that the show has also been delivering just as consistently on the drama. In the latest episode, Joe starts taking bets for his bookie without his knowledge. This of course leads to Joe being beaten up (sort of) by his cancer ridden “friend.” It’s really the first time the series has gone dark like that, but they still managed to squeeze in sincere humor in the final moments of the scene.
This pattern of amazing comedy, amazing drama and amazing dramedy is repeated many times throughout the series. It’s the reason why the show is held up so highly in the critical community. But in viewership the show needs a bump, and a well deserved one. So show some love for the under-performing show this Wednesday during the season finale. I promise you won’t regret it.
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To listen to the latest episode of Merrill’s TV Podcast, The Idiot Boxers with Kevin Carr, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.